31 December 2009

Happy New Year's Eve! :)

happy new year's eve, everybody! :]

i love this hour. like Christmas eve, it just seems so very magical for me.

i just finished watching the proposal with my parents and my sisters. my grandmother's asleep, and the rest of my family is downstairs, watching the new year's eve coverage.

i don't do that, though.

i don't know why everyone parties on new year's eve.

i stay home.

in a dark room.

and i listen to music and pray. sometimes write. like tonight. :]



i love this picture. i think these two little girl's are just so adorable. i don't know much about the future, but, baring any major interruptions, i will adopt two little girls. most likely from romania. or possibly the czech republic, if i'm allowed. right now, their names are bella and liliana. it helps keep the dream alive, to be able to give them names.

have you ever had dreams for living for Jesus?

i mean, sometimes i feel so alone in my dreams. i don't know if it's true or not, but a lot of times, nobody really shares my dreams around me, anyway. my mom's too practical. my dad's too scarred by life. my siblings... i don't know how to define it, but they just haven't really caught the vision yet. all the kids in my church don't seem to care. the adults in my church are too occupied with "looking good" and keeping up appearances, rather than moving mountains for Jesus. my coworkers, for the most part, loathe Jesus. as do most of my fellow students at my college. have you ever felt alone in your dreams?

i have.

but tonight, i have to voice my dreams. i have to make them real. i need them to be a pact between Jesus and me and a witness to know it's true.

i want to adopt (at least) two little girls from europe. probably romania. i WANT to do that now, but apparently dreams have to be grounded somewhat. i wish i could fly to europe and take in every orphan and give them love and home and a sweet future.

i want to become a beloved author. i want to write novels that make people think, that make people love, that make people laugh and cry and snort in their laughter, that make people change, that make people revolutionize.

i want to be a missionary. i never really thought this would be something i want to do. but i do. i want to go to europe (or if God calls me elsewhere, there too) and do whatever job i am hired for--teach english, love orphans, preach the Gospel, pray with lonely hearts, hold Bible studies, make friends... whatever! i don't care anymore. i just want to go. i don't know how i'm going to get there, but if i knew the language, i would leave right now, pack my bags, buy a ticket, go, and love.

i. want. to. change. the. world.

how hard it is for me to write this with the passion that i feel. i want to go and i want to love and i want to completely reveal the truth and the revolutionizing love of Jesus. i want to be a teenager's best friend, and give them hope and light their world on fire. i want to help an old lady with her groceries. i want to help a single momma babysit her little kiddies. i want to pray with the ragged. i want to hug the weary.

sometimes i cry. sometimes i cry for orphans and soldiers' families and people ragged by the effects of depression and weary single mommas and lonely and abused children and struggling heroes who fight for the helpless and soldiers who are underpaid and underappreciated. sometimes i cry because of the state of this world, the way half of the world doesn't have anyone to hug them and hold them when they're lonely. sometimes i cry because i forget to love these people. sometimes i cry because sometimes i forget to be the hands and feet of Jesus. sometimes i cry because i want to be the hands and feet of Jesus but sometimes i don't know how.

sometimes i cry because i am me and Jesus feels so far away, and we need Jesus right here. and right NOW.

and sometimes, i get chills because i feel Jesus here, with me and you and your friends and my friends as we dance and laugh and cry and curse and sleep and work and love and lose. and that's what matters the most of all.

sometimes i finally get it right, and i am for Jesus and i am for the lost.

this year, i want to get it right.

this year, i want to be Jesus to the world.

and this year, i want to live my dreams.

God help me, i will.

i will not just be a dreamer--i WILL change the world, and people will see me in heaven and cry because my tears didn't paralyze me from loving them.

oh, God, help me to be that girl.

amen.

till next time (and next year!),
ash the (determined) dreamer

24 December 2009

My Most Amazing Christmas Thought for 2009... :]]]]]



I love this very moment.

You know, I've had a lot of bad moments, depressed moments, horrible moments this year. But I can completely, truly say that at this very moment, as I write to you, fellow bloggers, that this is my very best moment of the entire year of 2009.

It's true.

It's just something about the way the Christmas lights my little sister hung around our room, and the sweet feel of the new pajamas my mommy freshly finished making for me, and the satisfaction that even though I'll probably only get five hours of sleep tonight, that all is still right in the world, at least for me. It's good to know that after waiting for 364 days to receive my portion of "Christmas spirit", it's finally here, and Jesus and joy and home culminate in this wonderful pleasure.

I wish you could experience it with me.

This is why I love Christmas oh-so-much. :]

Anyway, that's not really the reason I chose to blog tonight, on this night that has become sacred and holy for me.

I've blogged a lot this month about these lessons Jesus is teaching me about Christmas and this season for Him, but for almost a week now, I have been waiting to bring you this message that means the world to me.

I've cried a LOT this month. Not because I feel depressed or lonely or sick or lost--which I've felt a lot this year. But because of all these people who are not at home at this moment.

I've cried when I heard this Steven Curtis Chapman song. Please listen... the music didn't really hit me, but the words did. Please listen. :*(



And then this song always hits me, and makes me cry every single time. I think I promise. At least, I'm pretty sure there's never a time when I hear it that I don't cry. :*(



And then... then there's the "I'll Be Home for Christmas" by Josh Groban:



This month, I've cried for orphans, and I've cried for soldiers stuck halfway across the world, and I've cried for people who are lonely and weary and alone, and I wish I could turn their worlds upside down.

All I could do was whisper, "Baby girl, I'm coming for you... one day I'll find you... I promise. I PROMISE..." to the orphan girl who is lonely tonight and without a home that Jesus has called me to rescue, and all I could do for those military families at odds and separated from each other--all I could say was JESUS IS WITH YOU.

Because He is.

This feels like the wrong way to say it, but I don't know how to say it any other way. Jesus has been there--lost and torn from all ties to His home and confused and weary and teary-eyed. But He is with you NOW. And He won't leave you.

This is Christmas.

You could be alone, even in the middle of a million people. But you are not alone.

You have Jesus, the One who was truly alone and who blazed through the fires for you.

No matter where you are tonight, Jesus will be your Home, and you can count on Him.

Jesus is my Home this Christmas, the center of this love and happiness and security I feel--I am so blessed, but I wouldn't feel so much at home were it not for Jesus. :]

Maybe one day I'll be able to rescue 100 orphans like Gladys Aylward did, and someday I may baptize hundreds of people, like some preachers. Every day, oh world, I yearn to hold you in my arms and give you home and hope and love and liberty and safety and security, but for today, oh world, trust me and hear what I am saying.

PLEASE.

On this day, when you are lonely and weary and lost in the middle of the masses, know this. Know that Jesus is the One who holds you, the One who rescues you, the One who satisfies, strengthens, and supports you, the One who cradles you in His arms and protects you from all harms. Know that the once-homeless Jesus Christ will now be your home and provide for you every good thing that you don't have. Jesus is the One who loves you, the One who saves you, and the One who is like the Daddy who cradles His little girl in His arms when you fall and scrape your knee, or when you lost your one true love, or when life is too big for you. Jesus is your Daddy. And He is HOME.

Someday, I might know you, oh world, and someday, I might be able to rock your world so you can see, but until then... please see. Please know that Jesus can hold you when I can't. Jesus can love you when I can't reach you--when no one can reach you. Jesus can be your Healer. Jesus can be your Home.



Until next time,
Ash the (Hoping) Dreamer

18 December 2009

exhausted...

hello.

:]

i'm exhausted tonight.

i don't think i like grocery shopping very much.

haha, let me explain. my family is hosting this annual Christmas party we have every year, and we were so busy all week we really didn't get to prepare until last night, and the party is tomorrow night... and we're gonna be at church pretty much all day tomorrow, until about suppertime (aka party time...). so it had to happen today. so after i took my last final (eek!) i did ALL the grocery shopping for the party for my mom (took me like, five hours, maybe?), and i am so tired! staying up till midnight studying and waking up at 6:30-ish every morning does that to me. :/ but i'm super excited, because i think our Christmas party is probably my FAVORITE part of the year, besides Christmas morning itself, and some years, my birthday... :]

i'm excited to start working on this Christmas story, about this special little lady named Willow, and her to-be amazing guy, Ben. And Ben's two adorable little girls, Bella and Liliana. :] it's going to be spectacularly amazing! :]

anyway, it seems like EVERY day i learn something new about Christmas and what it's supposed to be about... so today i was reading Matthew 1 (well, the part that includes the story of Jesus' birth, anyway), and it just hit me how much what Joseph accepted really meant to him. he would endure the mocking of him taking a wife that was having a baby that was not his own. that was BIG back then. it meant that he said YES to being the father of the Father of the Universe. (can you REALLY comprehend that? i can't!) it meant that he said yes to God, even when he was so scared he didn't know what to do. so i guess, today i learned that even if God's plan doesn't make sense at all, and God's plan scares me more than it comforts me, it's still God's plan. and after all is said and done, it's always best to say yes to Jesus. :]

11 December 2009

Awesome Christmas-ey Stuff...

I was going to write a wonderful blog about the Christmas program I just got home from, but that was rather un-eventful, and COMPLETELY under par for the school that puts it on. Maybe that has to do with the stupid principal and vice principal who run the school. My sister, though, was a glowing, wonderful alto. Yep, she was the best there. No doubt. :]

I got to go up and sing the Hallelujah Chorus, which is pretty much the HIGHLIGHT of my year (silly, I know, but I just love it so much!), with all the other choir alumni from my high school, and it was splendid! :)

But that's not why I'm writing this blog...

Yesterday, I believe it was, I was doing my Bible study, and it completely took my breath away. I was soooo very shocked and awakened to the purpose of Christmas, and since this is such a monumental idea, I figured you deserved to hear it, lovely bloggers. :]

So I was first reading in Luke 2 (as I love to read the story of Jesus' birth a lot in the month of December), and I stopped myself a couple verses into it, when Luke got to the part about there not being any room in the inn for Jesus.

First of all, that makes me sick. What sort of twisted minds have the gall to deny their Lord and CREATOR a warm bed and a semi-sanitary room to come into the world? What sort of people force the Healer and the Comforter and the Lord to be born next to a pig? I mean, piglets are cute, I suppose, but come on. Do you really want your kid to be born inches from that piglet's pooh (hahaha, no pun intended, lol!)? If that doesn't appeal to you, then why in the world would someone let the King of the WORLD be born there?

Sometimes I'm self-righteous enough to think that I would NEVER have done that, but it makes me more sick to think that I probably would have resigned holy baby Jesus to be born among poop and disease and unsanitary animals to be able to keep my bed and the semblance of warmth, rather than the fact that they let this happen to the Creator of the world...

I remembered thinking, "Couldn't ONE PERSON find just one small area for a scared mom to give birth to the most precious Cargo in the whole entire universe? Couldn't one person see that Jesus was coming and prepare the way for His birthplace?"

Then, since it hit me so hard, I decided to read a psalm (thinking it might calm me down a bit), but it only emphasized the idea.

I read Psalm 23, and it made me even sicker, thinking that Jesus provides all these marvelous things we don't deserve, like peace and food and sleep and hope and protection in the midst of danger and all these things that after Jesus provides them for us, we take them for granted.

And then, it hit me, like a rock.

We STILL don't make room for the King of the world.

Gah, that hit me right where it counts, and it made me sick and I was shivering and about to cry and all this on too little sleep and almost too half-asleep to really catch it, but I saw it. I saw it, and now it won't let me go.

I've been having issues with this lately.

So it's especially meaningful for me.

I've shared on here that I have to deal with struggles surrounding depression and OCD, and right now I'm battling it more than usual. And my coping mechanism for these two diseases usually involves watching a lot of TV and going on this baby name website to give advice to help mommas choose names for their precious babies. And then I kinda lose track of my life and where I want it to be going. So I've been sick about how I put all these shows that, at the end of the day, don't matter in the long run. Chuck, Glee, Bones, Leverage, Lie to Me, Castle, NCIS, White Collar, etc... All these shows didn't save my life. All these shows didn't call me to a greater place. And yet, I find myself worrying that after promising Jesus when I was barely more than a baby that I would never have any idols before Him, what if these have become my idols? And I miss Jesus, on these days when I find time for empty pleasures instead of true purpose.

I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but I know that none of us but Jesus is perfect... But I'm getting sick of seeing Jesus being put last... This Christmas, I want to put CHRIST right where He belongs--the center of EVERYTHING.

:]

Merry Christmas everybody!

Till next time,
Ash the (Ashamed) Dreamer

09 December 2009

:\



I. HATE. RAIN/SNOW TOGETHER.

That's all.

:]

till next time,
Ash the (soaked) Dreamer

04 December 2009

My 10

Apparently, I'm a better blogger than I thought, because a week or two ago, I was awarded! Whoda thunk it? :]

Anyway, now I'm supposed to post 10 things about me and then award my own favorite blogs. :)

Anyways, so here we go! :)

1. Something I enjoy: the show Chuck. Seriously. It's so funny and sweet and loveable! :) I mean, who wouldn't love a story about a computer-geek turned CIA spy?! :))))



2. Something that changed my life: Pastor Sergio Manente. He is seriously THE coolest pastor/teacher in the whole world. He taught leadership classes in my high school, and from his ministry, I just gained so much confidence in myself, learned the path I wanted for my life, saw the path of Christianity as a passion, and learned how to be a leader for Jesus. He's seriously amazing, y'all. :)



3. Something I find funny: my brother Buddy. Seriously, I can't spend five minutes around him without laughing! He's so funny--and usually his jokes are at my expense, but after nearly 20 years of this, I'm learning to see past it. :)



4. Something I want: Can I say two things? Pretty please? Because it's like two dreams that are so infused into who I am that it just feels like one big ache for it to come true. :) Firstly, I want to be a missionary to Europe. Probably at an orphanage. :) Secondly, I would LOVE to have at LEAST two girls, maybe more, with at least two of them adopted, and the perfect hubby to match. :) I'm afraid it's too much to ask for, but gah, I want it so bad! :(



(Switzerland--the one country I want to see more than just about ANYWHERE in the whole wide world!)



(just an adorable little girl!)

5. Something I confess: everyday I have to deal with clinical depression and OCD. And those horrible diseases bring me down every single day. And they sicken me. I HATE depression and OCD. I would love nothing more than if they were MURDERED for FOREVER. They destroy my joy and keep me from the path Jesus destined for me, and I can't imagine anything uglier than depression and OCD. I won't post a picture, because it's just so ugly. :|

6. Something that rocks my socks: these two little girls in my church. Their names are Delaney and Kylee, and they melt my heart every day I see them. They melt and heal my heart every single weekend, and I LOVE children because I met them one September day in the year of 2008. :) Laney's almost 4, and I think Kylee's around three. :)



(This is Laney! Since I just got my new laptop this Thursday, I don't have a picture for Kylee to show you, but this is Laney!)

7. Something about me that might confuse you: I guess the biggest confusion to people is my dreams. I guess they just don't see that many dreamers like me, so they don't see how my life can be aimed toward things that are so impossible to achieve, but I'm okay with that. :) Some people don't understand why I want to be a missionary to Europe and take care of orphans when I could be a prestigious professor at an ivy league college with my brain. Some people don't understand why I want to open an orphanage and why I want to be a writer and a mom and a bookstore owner and a speaker and travel the world and bring hope and work for nothing so that I can bring just a wee bit of hope to the world. But then again, if you don't have big, change-the-world, Jesus dreams inside of you, then there's no way in the whole world that you'll understand me! :)

8. Something that makes me soooo happy: My sweet baby sister, Lea. She's so adorable, and she's graduating from 8th grade this year, and I'm just so proud of her, and I'm just so very glad I've had the treasure of this year to spend with just her and my parents this year, just to get to know her a little bit better (since I've been in boarding school most of her life). She's so sweet and smart and adorable, and she's gonna make the most kick-butt, awesome, heady, LOVELY combination of a lady of God that you won't have a CLUE what hit you when you meet this sweet little thing! :) Anyway, I just had to brag about her. :) Cuz she's AMAZING. :)



9. Something that I currently find amazing: that Jesus, in His vast greatness and mercy, chooses to use me and bless me and LOVE me in the middle of those moments that I feel completely UNLOVEABLE. Jesus takes my breath away EVERYDAY, but on those days when depression ruins and crushes my life and I feel like compressed, contorted, ugly, rejected, grotesque trash after Satan pushes me down so much that I can barely see hope shining, on those days when Jesus comes shining into my life and holds me in His arms and whispers promises of joy and hope and grace and dreams and I see a glimpse of what I can be for Him, THAT is what rocks my world. :)



10. Something I'm thankful for: for LIFE. Through the ups and downs, through the rights and wrongs, Jesus still gave me this opportunity, and I plan to make the very most of it! :)

:]

Thanks so much for stinkin' through the mess that is me right now. :) And thanks to those of you that actually do read my blog. :) I feel so incredibly honored that you do. :)

And to award my favorite blogs... um, well, I would honor Jen from here, but she was the one who awarded me, so I guess that doesn't work. :*(

I don't really follow that many other blogs--just another Jen--Jenny Simmons from Addison Road, but I doubt she'll ever see this. :) Anywho, even if she doesn't see it, you should check out her blog. :) Just go to www.jennysimmons.com. :)

Happy weekend, everybody!

(Oh, and soon I'll post pictures of my new computer! She's so lovely. *grin* I'm currently looking to name her, and all I've got is Evey or Sylvie as ideas, so if you have an ingenious one, leave me a message!)

Till next time,
Ash the (Grateful) Dreamer

21 November 2009

sarah the stupid...

gahhhhhhhhhhhh!!! i have two projects i really need to work on, but i'm sooooooooooooo mad, because my computer died on me tonight!!!!!!!! gah, i'm so very mad. :/ i think sarah (aka my computer... in case you didn't know, i name EVERYTHING) finally gave up the ghost. :/ but all my stories are on there! :/ i really hope i can get something worked out, but until then, i have to steal my parents computer, and NOBODY likes that.

sorry, just had to vent. :/

anyway, so it just seems like an impossible situation. my dad says that i can't get my files off my computer unless i can get it restarted, and i don't even have anywhere to transfer them to, even if i could get them off my computer. we have an extra computer, but it doesn't have internet connection, so that's no good. :/ and i don't want to deplete my savings to buy another one! :/ sooooooooooooo... i'm seriously about to have a fit tonight. :/ i've been between tears and a fit of anger all night. :/ so pray for me, y'all...

anywho! i have to get back to my science project. but thanks for letting me vent. :/

till next time,
ash the (emotional) dreamer

20 November 2009

:]

hello!

i don't really have much to say, but i always love saying hi every friday night, so here i am! :)

i just took my sister to church, where they're camping out for the weekend. :) she seemed excited. :) and my other sister just got home from school--she goes to a boarding high school half an hour away, so i'm so excited she is home! :)

and now? well, now i'm just listening to adventures in odyssey and wishing my hip and my legs would feel better. :/

anyway, if you want to listen to odyssey (because, who wouldn't?!), click here!

17 November 2009

Psalm 23

Sometimes, when I'm kinda tired, I read the Psalms for my personal Bible study (not sure why, because it usually takes longer to do that, and it makes me think more, and the whole point was that they were shorter, so I could get to bed faster, lol). So I'm kinda sleepy right now, so instead of reading Acts 12 (or at least part of it), I read Psalm 23. And it really hit me. Especially the part of my life I'm in right now. :)

Anywho, so I decided to share it with you! :)

Psalm 23:

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (NASB)

:)

Anyway, hope that was as refreshing to you as it was to me!!!! :)

13 November 2009

the skit guys!!!!!

gah, the skit guys are amazing! :) i just spent the past 6:45 minutes laughing my head off, so i figured i would share this with you! :)



hope you loved it as much as i do! :)

until next time,
ash the (amused) dreamer!

sweet irene and other stuff...

hello, friend (or friends, perhaps?)! :) here we are again, and it's another lovely friday night!!!! :) gah, i LOVE friday nights!!!! :)

anyway, new week, new song, so since i can't live without Christian music, and i can't imagine anyone who could live without it, i will post the lovely song for you! :) (btw, that last sentence was DRIPPING with sarcasm... hope you picked up on that... *grin*)



this is casting crowns, with their new single, until the whole world hears. :)

but i digress. :)

GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm soooooooooo excited!!!!!! for the past couple weeks now, i've REALLY wanted to sponsor a child through compassion international (currently my favorite ministry in the whole world). if you don't know what compassion does, go to www.compassion.com and check it out. if you can walk away from those HUNDREDS of innocent, loveable faces, unscathed, then... well, i don't know what i would do, because i don't know if my sarcastic side would congratulate you for being so callous, or if i would ignore you and go and cry that such innocent, lovely children don't even have a chance at true life anymore. :/

anyway, so i've been planning, and PLANNING to sponsor a little girl from the hundreds of children that need sponsoring (i think there's almost 900 girls alone, from age 3 to 18, that need to be sponsored... that doesn't even include the boys!). the first night i checked it out, it was this precious little girl from honduras whose name is carolina. she was so perfect. and adorable. and my heart was perfectly attached to hers. but alas, i had about $25 to my name. gah. i hate college right now. so i had to transfer my money from my paychecks to my checking account, but i kept pushing it off because i'm so busy. well, somebody adopted that adorable little girl and left my heart crushed. :/ and then i found a three-year-old little girl named yestin who was so incredibly sweet. i was sure she was the one. the same night i found her, someone else adopted her, too! :/ and then, i found irene. she was a little four-year-old from el salvador, and she'd remained unsponsored for over half a year, and i grew to love her SO much, and i just knew she was to be mine! well, this week somebody up and sponsored her, too. i was crushed. i already felt like irene was my little girl, almost like a daughter to me, and now she's someone else's. :*( and i was so sure she would be mine, because there were several times when she was sponsored, and then, there she was, back again, and i was just so sure. :/ but now, every time i look at all those faces, my heart breaks, but now i can't find one i KNOW i'm supposed to sponsor, because irene's not there. :*( maybe by monday (when my money should be in my account) i'll find the perfect girl. who knows. pray that i know which precious gem to sponsor!

other than that, i've just been stepping back from my life and making some changes. it feels good. i think Jesus wanted this for me for a while, and now i'm finally listening. stupid, stupid me! :)

anyway, that's me. :)

maybe when i find the perfect little girl, i'll post a picture for you all to see! :)

anyway, happy weekend, everybody! :)

until next time,
ash the (crushed and ecstatic at the same time!!!!) dreamer

11 November 2009

pray for me...

today i lost a very good friend.

her name was bree.

and she was amazing.

and now she's gone.

so please, please pray for me.

i've been crying for almost an hour straight through. :*(

i know i'll make it through, but i'll miss bree and everything we shared together. :*(

anyway, i just came on to ask you guys to pray for me! :)

have a lovely evening, y'all! :)

until next time,
ash the (devastated) dreamer

07 November 2009

:)

Sorry to end the week with that dreadfully depressing last blog. :/ But hello again! I'm feeling quite a bit better today, although I am still kinda icky. :/

But there's all these plans in my life that I'm working on executing, and I'm excited about them. Getting a new job, finding out about longer-term mission opportunities in Europe, sponsoring a sweet little girl from El Salvador through Compassion International (their names are Lorena Sofia and Irene Abigail)... (gah, they're so adorable! :) There's two I'm trying to decide about, and I'm hoping nobody sponsors ONE of them until I can transfer my money so I can sponsor one of them!)

Anyway, I am feeling a bit better, after feeling still pretty depressed last night, and I feel like I'm on the up and up. :) And since the last blog was so sad, I figured I would leave you with some sheer happiness. :)

I used to say NOTHING good came out of Nebraska (especially since my year in Nebraska was probably the lowest point in my life), but I've changed my mind. There's at least one thing good that comes out of Nebraska: this SWEET band! :)



Gah, I love their music! (They're called Remedy Drive, if you didn't catch on, lol.) Their music always makes me feel so happy and revolutionary! :)

And THIS is the guy who basically does my favorite radio morning show ever (his name is Brant Hansen, and he's stinkin' HILARIOUS!).



Oh, if you get a chance, pray for him, because he's in Kabul, Afghanistan, right now, as a short-term missionary, helping missionary doctor's give birth to babies and cleaning up after them. :) It sounds like a really amazing ministry he's going with (called CURE International), so pray for him, because he and his wife Carolyn are doing an amazing thing right now...

Anyway, I figured y'all could use some cheering up after that last blog. :)

P.S... Jen, thanks for your comment, if you read this blog, too! :) It was so encouraging to me! :)

Until next time,
Ash the (Now Laughing) Dreamer! :)

05 November 2009

worst week ever...

I know I said I would be back tomorrow, but I only have one class today, and I'm kinda hiding from the real world right now.

Probably just my overdramatic self taking things way out of proportion, but I just have to step back and be able to see how overdramatic I'm really being, and I'm pretty sure nothing major is happening in my lit class today. Besides, it started 45 minutes ago, and I'm a mess.

Yesterday one of my bosses talked to me about not doing my job right, and I guess I just wasn't seeing things that needed to be done, and she was thinking that I was all lazy and it was just a mess. Have you ever cried in front of your boss? Yeah.

EMBARRASSING!!!!

Anyway, she's going to try and get the managers to help me so I can be a better worker, but there was just stuff at that time that I really didn't know how to say, so I feel like I got a bunch of heat that really didn't need to be put under my rear, but whatever.

My mom's been so sweet about everything, and when I told her, she told me about how once one of her bosses told her that she was basically the weakest link in the whole production, and she bawled like a baby, so I don't feel TERRIBLE. I just cried all the way home, and I can't stop crying now! Gah, it's so annoying.

But then last night I had a dream that after helping the people in the show Numb3rs (aka, my new favorite TV show!) solve this crazy case on a beach somewhere (it was really weird, like a mix between Lost and Numb3rs, and I didn't know what was going on, lol!), I came home, and for some reason, my name was Arianne. Not sure why, but it was. I'm cool with that, though, because Arianne's probably my second favorite name right now, just after Eliza. :) Anyway, my parents didn't even TALK to me about this, but they said, "Oh, you have a letter waiting for you in our room." So I read the letter, and it basically said that my parents were tired of me not taking responsibility for myself and they were so tired of all my emotional problems (aka my depression and OCD) that they weren't going to put up with it much longer, and they were going to kick me out of the house just before the next school year started. Gah, what kind of dream is THAT?! I think I was crying in my dream, too, and so now I'm freaking out and reevaluating my life and such, and it doesn't help that my dad actually said that in real life... that if I didn't get my act together I could just leave.

Gah.

Anyway, so if I missed my lit powerpoint presentation, you know why. I feel like I'm a ROYAL MESS. :/

But out of all of this, I am learning that I've been taking the easy road, and even though I keep saying all these things about following Jesus, I've been going my own way, and I'm trying to come back to Him and make Him proud.

Pray for me, if you read this.

Because, well, GAH, I need it SOOOO much right now! :/

Until next time,
Ash the (Tearful) Dreamer

31 October 2009

don't waste your life...



Gah, I LOVE this music video. And I figured I would share it with you! :) I'm usually not into the whole urban-music, rap thing, but I really love the meaning of this, and the way it makes me think about what life is about gives me goosebumps. :)

Anyway, happy weekend! Talk to ya next Friday! :)

Till next time,
Ash the (Empowered) Dreamer

:)

30 October 2009

hello.

hello, blog-dom.

it's been a long week. i'll spare you the details, but i feel wasted. probably because i never go to bed in time to get 8 hours of sleep anymore. which stinks, because i'm not-so-nice to be around when i'm running on anything less than 8 hours of sleep. but i got 9 hours of sleep last night, so you would think that i'd be good to go. :/

tonight, for the first time in weeks, i don't feel like the world will come crashing down if God's church doesn't take it up a notch. i don't know if that's a good thing, but there it is.

i don't really get the hype of halloween. i mean, for the kiddy part, yeah, i totally get it. what girl doesn't want to dress up like a princess and go get some yummy candy? but the thing is, halloween is about so much more, and i don't understand in the slightest why people condone it.

i was talking to my grandmother today, and she was talking about how halloween was the time where all the repressed demonism, anti-God, pure, undefiled, complete EVIL comes out of hiding, and people disguise it by saying, "oh, it's a harmless time when kids can get candy!"

no it's not! you're sending your kids into the pure, unadulterated evil of one single night! gah, the idea of halloween just gives me the creaps. i don't even know how to battle it, and it's like america is unabashedly the friend of the devil for one night, and then it all goes back into hiding and everybody says it's all good and we're a Christian nation and nothing's wrong.

wrong-o!

i try to avoid halloween at ALL COSTS--well, if people came to my house for candy, i would do some progressive evangelism, and make little candy bags with little Bible verses on them or something--but even i've heard of some really creapy things that make me want to either run for the hills or run away from america. i dunno which! gah, it scares me so much.

i mean, open, unabashed devil worship? and that's all i can think of. it's like america doesn't realize the devil is real, and he's all ready to take over their hearts, and then they go out and celebrate halloween.

goodness, i wish that "holiday" would be banned.

now that all this creapy-ness woke me up again, man, i'm going to be praying for our country this weekend....

until next time (since i don't know what else to say...)
ash the (terrified) dreamer

23 October 2009

stories and missions

hello.

it's me. here again, same place, same time, same heart, same me. new song right now. i'll post the youtube video at the end of the blog.

i feel like i'm a broken record, but when it keeps coming back to me, it just feels like it's all the more from God, so i speak. :) if you've read my last couple of blogs, you know how completely unsatisfied with my life, my church, and my actions i am.

i've been thinking, recently (like, within this week) about how i might like to be a missionary. i don't even know what it would take, but i am absolutely in LOVE with the idea of being a missionary to europe right now, of working in an orphanage, helping with church, and hopefully still keeping my favorite things--Christian music, my stories, hope, people. it would make me so much more independent than i am, and i would be positively terrified of that, but the more i think about it, the more i think it's something Jesus wants me to do.

it's time to make a change, i feel. it's time to step out of my security and soar for my Savior.

i just don't know the first movement.

so pray for me, that i know what to do. :)

in other news, i'm thinking of starting working on another story i've had on the back-burner lately. it's this allegory of the story of david and bathsheba, and it's so stinkin' amazing! it's set in present-day america (for the most part), and it's about this girl, dominique, who is married to this dude, collin. they are so happily in love, but collin is a military man, and he leaves to go fight in iraq. he is only supposed to be gone for half a year, but that turns into fifteen months--1 and 1/4 of a year!--and dominique looks for a friend. josiah gilmore, who is one of collin's best friends and one of his superior officers, is home from iraq currently, and he promised to look out for dominique. and they kinda, well, you know how things are, i suppose. dominique was lonely, they were talking intimately, it got late, dominique's gorgeous, josiah is looking for a girl of his own... and they had sex. :/ and afterward, they are both horrified, and dominique doesn't tell anybody. until she misses her period... and well, she finds out she's pregnant. and soon afterward, collin comes home. and there's something that keeps them from coming together, ya know, so later on there is no chance that the baby is collin's. and almost immediately after he comes home, he's called back over there. and he's killed in the action. dominique is grief-stricken, horrified, scared, worried that her weak actions caused this to happen to the only man she ever loved, and then she refuses to talk to josiah. josiah, who's this Godly man, is sickened by his actions. he pleads and pleads and pleads for forgiveness from God and dominique, and daily he visits collin's grave, tears pouring down his cheeks, as he asks for his best friend's forgiveness, too. and josiah becomes a new man. :) and slowly, he and dominique heal together. dom gives birth to their precious baby girl, who they name emmerson olivia (she would have gone by emmy, though). she was born extremely prematurely, though, and her heart and lungs are severely underdeveloped. she doesn't even live 24 hours, and dominique and josiah just about die out of grief. somehow, they find healing through it all, and get married and find joy again. i'm thinking it's a big enough story that it'll need to be more than one book--maybe a trilogy... i dunno. but i stinkin' love the story! :)

anyway, happy weekend, everybody! :)

till next time,
ash the (overwhelmed) dreamer

p. s. here's that video!

09 October 2009

the injustices...

It's dark outside. Here we are again, same place, same time, every week. New song, same heart, same me. I'm listening to Francesca Battistelli's "It's Your Life," and it's just fueling the fire inside of me.

I've been mad about a lot of stuff lately. About the injustices.

Gah, I really would love to strangle somebody or something right now.

I remember someone tweeting (on Twitter) this week about the irony of the fact that President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, but the US is bombing the moon to see if it has a reliable water source. I mean, really?! And President Obama is considering sending more troops to Afghanistan. REALLY?! How is that in the spirit of bringing peace? Really, I'm all about breaking the bonds and helping children and women who are oppressed, but after all this time, I think it's time for a little bit of peace. That, and to let the soldiers have a break. After all that they have done.

I saw a picture today of a formation of military soldiers. Standing at attention. With a little girl in a pretty pink dress, clinging to her daddy's hand. I don't know what the military had to say about that, but it tore my heart out. I still want to cry about it.

My old principal from elementary school is going to this leadership conference in Georgia this weekend, and he posted something on facebook about getting involved with helping orphans. I checked out the website (www.143million.org), and it's all about how to help orphans, and yes, there are 143 million orphans in the world.

That makes me SICK.

More than that, it makes me sick that I'm considered too young, too inexperienced, with too unstable of an income with too little money to adopt every single one of them. And adopt them out to families that really, truly would love each and everyone of them.

And it makes me even more sick to think that my mom is too scared of loving an orphan to even consider foster care, and my dad is too angry and focused on his job and worried about finances to be the face of Jesus to just one more child.

It makes me sick that every time I hear about another family having another child, or adopting a kid, or taking in foster children, that I have to sit here blogging about how utterly sick and furious I am, because my hands are tied.

It makes me sick I don't even have $38 a month to sponsor a Compassion International child. It makes me sick that I can barely scrape enough money together to pay off my school bills and send seven dollars to an amazing ministry called Mocha Club.

It makes me sick that I can only be so much of Jesus' hands and feet, while a lot of the rest of Jesus is just sitting there, when they can do so much more than I can do.

I'm just so sick of sitting still, of not doing ANYthing. I'm sick of being satisfied of being here, doing homework, watching TV, working at a Taco Bell that tells me to get people to donate dollars to help starving children in Africa, and when my heart is ripped out by well-off American after well-off American denies dying children who don't even have a chance, then they yell at me for focusing more on the children than on keeping the dining room clean and keeping people happy.

I'm sick of not even loving my major. I'm sick of just dreaming of change. I'm sick of going through the motions. I'm sick of not making a difference. I'm sick of fitting into the "good girl", studious, church-mouse shell of the powerhouse of a person Jesus created me to be!

And more than ANYTHING else, I'm sick of knowing all the things that need to be done, but knowing I don't have ANY resources, and not even knowing where to go! or WHAT to do, or how to go about doing it, and I just get sick inside, day after day, and it just can't keep going on like this.

Maybe I should pack a suitcase or two, fly to a poor European country, apply to work at an orphanage, and read my Bible everyday, and stop watching TV and pretending to care about all these insignificant things.

I don't feel like I was created for this life. I feel like I've been put in the wrong place entirely, and I keep hearing, "Go, go, go!" in my ears, but I don't even know where to go! And now I'm crying, and the world knows it, and still nothing happens.

This world makes me sick.

I can't wait till I get to heaven and all I have to worry about is seeing the approval and the love in Jesus' eyes, and being a friend to every person, and singing praises to Jesus and loving people like my heart was made for. Or maybe I was meant to go on the road with Christian bands and preach Jesus. I don't even know. All I know is that I can't stand this much longer.

Ash the (Despondent) Dreamer

02 October 2009

The Things That Keep Me Awake at Night...

Hello, Blog World.

I haven't written in a while, so I figured it was time. So hello, old faithful friend.

Right now I'm listening to Jars of Clay's song, "Two Hands". I'm usually not a big fan of Jars of Clay, but I really like this song. It's hopeful, I think. Especially the bridge. Anyway, so I'm listening to this song and trying to figure out what I want to say to you.

It seems like I always say, "Oh, I have dreams of changing the world" but I never have anything to report, nothing exciting to say. Maybe that's just me, though.

I've been talking to a lot of people about ministry and church and Jesus lately. It seems like my church is dying, and that really makes me sick on the inside. Have you ever felt that way? It really makes me sick inside, because I have loved these people for so long, but it seems like our church is dying. It makes me cry. Not just on the inside, too.

I talked to my nana last week (she goes to my church, too), and she thinks it's my pastor. She thinks he's changed. I don't know if that's true. Lots of people would say that my church is just not open to evolving to meet the current needs the world has right now. I don't know if that's true, either. I used to think I had all the answers, but now I know I don't.

I listen to this morning radio show called "Mornings with Brant". You can listen online at www.morningswithbrant.com. It's awesome. They talk about Jesus, about life, about laughter, and just things you wouldn't even imagine, and there's great music in there, too. I just love it. Anyway, besides my shameless plug that you should soooooooo check it out (it's on from 6 to 10 every weekday morning), they are really making me think.

Today, they brought up this question: If your church decided to sell its property and its building, how would you feel about it? And just FYI, this is not disbanding the congregation and saying, "This church family doesn't exist anymore..." This is saying that those that are less well off than we are deserve to have food today and a Bible to heal their hearts. And clothes on their backs. And we're finally deciding to step up and be the hands and feet and words of Jesus.

Oh, the state of the Christian church in modern America makes me both sick and seething mad, and on top of it all, I just want to crawl up into a little ball and cry my heart out until the power of Satan goes away.

I LOVED that question that Brant asked today. He posted it on their facebook page, too, and I replied there, but apparently halfway through all the responses, someone had the guts to say, "Well, y'all are so gun-ho about doing it, so who's gonna be FIRST?!" And it makes me so incredibly sad that I CAN'T be first! If I brought this idea to my church board the next time they met, I would be laughed out of the room.

I can already hear what they'd say.

Are you serious, Ashley? Are you crazy? Look at where we are! We've made something out of our church. This is comfortable. This is beautiful, and this is finally OURS. Why should we give it up? Why do we need to give up what God has blessed us with?

And I know right now what I would say to them, and it certainly wouldn't be politically correct or even spiritually correct!

With tears in my eyes and a tremor in my voice, I would shout:

This is YOURS?! Are you KIDDING me? You guys don't even know Jesus anymore! You go through the motions, and you act all holier-than-thou, but you are WEAK! You are worse than they are! You are why they don't want to be here! They see right through to your lies, and they know that you are just like them, sinners in need of the Redeemer, and yet you act like you don't need Him!

They are POOR! They're DESTITUTE! They're STARVING, and SICK, and THIRSTY, and ALONE and NEEDY and THEY ARE EXACTLY WHY JESUS CAME HERE!!! And you all forgot that! How in the world could you forget? How STUPID can you be?!

And I don't know what else I would do then. I think I would curl up in a ball and cry. Because I love them to death. They're like family to me. But they are dead. They're starving themselves and they don't even know how much they're hurting themselves! And they're keeping the people out of heaven that need it the most!

I have a feeling, if I didn't get so angry that I forgot, I would tell them that I didn't understand how Jesus stand them anymore, because they were the Laodicean church, not hot but not cold, and Jesus was about to spit them out of His mouth.

But I don't want to tell them ANY of that! I love them. And I love Jesus' people that aren't quite His yet! And I love them all, and I want to show them all Jesus' hope, and I want to fly to heaven's gates with EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM--both the ones in the church already, and the ones who see through to the hypocrisy and are scared away by it.

This is something that's just been bothering me so much. And I'm sick of not saying ANYTHING. I don't even know how to speak, outside of blogging like this. Jesus' church is ignorant, and I don't even know how to wake them up.

I know Jesus has called me to speak out for Him, but I don't even know what to say.

It makes me sick and sad and paralyzed all at the same time.

What do you think? I know not too many people really follow my blog, but if you do happen to read this one blog, can you please reply? Christian, Atheist, agnostic, teen, grandparent, I don't care. I just am no longer content to let the church stay this way. But I don't know where to go from here!

Thanks for reading... this one was a longer one. But Jesus truly wants each and every one of us, and I want to make it easier for us all to be with Him.

Until next time,
Ash the (frantic) Dreamer

18 August 2009

just been thinking about different things today... thinking like the ashley i used to be, and it makes me feel free. some of the things i thought today...

my Bible study was so freeing last night. i don't even remember what that Psalm was about... i just remember feeling so healed, when i finished reading it. it helped that i had just watched a horrifically heart-draining episode of law and order criminal intent (no more for me! too much of the depressing part of the world!), and i was left feeling hopeless about life, the world, and Christianity... and Jesus fueled my heart. :)

i think i want to look into seeing if babysitting during my out-of-school hours would pay enough money to get me through college. doubt it, but it would be nice, and i would feel like i'm actually doing something fulfilling, rather than filling taco shells and taking people's orders... so tired of taco bell. and i want to be around kids so much more...

everyone that i talk to about falling in love says that it'll happen and i'll meet the right guy... i don't want to get desperate or obsessive, but i do wonder, who will that right guy be? and how in the world will i know? and even more, HOW IN THE WORLD WILL I FIND HIM?! i dream of falling in love... maybe it's just not for me. is falling in love just not for some people?

what is going to public school full-time like? i'm scared to be that immersed in such a secular culture. i hope and pray i can find a good ally to help me through it. :)

i hope i made Jesus proud today. i try. i try not to complain like Philippians 2 calls me to, and i try to be cheerful and pure in heart and kind and loving, and i try to put Jesus first... i try to do what (as far as i know) will make Jesus proud of me. i hope i succeeded today...

i can't wait to continue eliza's and noah's story. it's so epic--i just know it! i went and messed it up, and i've been praying that if God can still use it and if He still wants to use it, that He will, and i've been trying to wait on Him, but i want to write it so bad! i miss those hours of crafting eliza's and noah's lives...

i hope i can be a full-time author someday. that would be absolutely lovely and exquisite...

most of all, i thought of what it would be like to change lives today... to, life after life, impact goodness on each heart, to give hope instead of hopelessness, joy instead of strife, love instead of hatred, kindness instead of harshness, peace instead of war, Jesus instead of Satan, good instead of evil, and to, face after face, see a smile of hope... i've heard songs about how people who got to heaven and found the person responsible for planting the seed of hope, and i just want to have more people than anybody else... not because i'm conceited, but because i want Jesus glorified, and i want the best for those people...

i think i've come a long way from the darkness that i've been in... i'm not perfect, but i feel more hopeful today... hopefully, one day, i will be the girl Jesus wants me to be exactly... :)

07 August 2009

my glorious obsession.

For the last several months--almost half a year now--I've had to deal with moderate OCD. Just figured it out recently, but I've been dealing with it for a while. And I've been shifting through the events and choices and decisions and loves in my life, and trying to sort out how to live a life full of freedom from chains. It's been a very uphill battle, but not quite as bad as clinical depression has been, which is kinda nice. :)

Anyway, so in the midst of all these obsessions, and ugh, these are the strangest things--like, half the time, I keep demanding of myself, "Ashley, WHY are THESE the things you get hung up on? What's your problem?!" lol. But in the midst of it all, I've been questioning myself and what I stand for and if I still stand for the same things that I've always stood for, and I'm learning some interesting things...

I'm finding that I thought being obsessed about God was a good thing, and I used to love Steven Curtis Chapman's song "Glorious Obsession" (it was about how he wanted to make God his only focus), but now the thought of making ANYTHING an obsession scares me not a little bit.

I am finding that the thought of being obsessed about so many things my whole life leaves me feeling weary and wondering if I will ever have a normal life outside of all these mental mumbo-jumbo--first depression, now OCD... what's next? I won't say what I'm thinking, just because I'm too afraid that I'll jinx myself! :*(((

And because of the obsessions, I'm left wondering if the things I thought I always wanted are really meant for me... I mean, I always wanted to be a writer, but when I started obsessing about a story, it wasn't that same beautiful story anymore, and so I was so freaked out that I wasn't meant to be a writer anymore. And I am just so excited for the day that Jesus brings true love and my happily-ever-after into my life, but because I obsessed about finding love and falling in love, I was actually revolted by the idea of getting into a relationship and falling in love.

I am finding that OCD is soooooo much worse than I thought it ever would be! I mean, they don't tell you about the emotional side-effects when you learn about OCD in seventh grade. Just that you have to check to make sure you turned the lights of 20 times each night. But not the emotional baggage that comes with it!

Most of all, I'm finding that I miss the peace of presence of that verse in Psalms 46... the one where it says to be still and know that God is God. And I totally want to know where in the world that peace of mind was in the middle of thinking I was going crazy!

You may not have OCD or depression, but you may be struggling with something else.

So stop.

Be still.

And know that God is still God. God will ALWAYS be God. And no matter what, there is no reason to freak out.

I just wish it was just as easy to live it out as it is to blog it at my kitchen table. :*(

Till next time,

Ash the (Changing) Dreamer

24 July 2009

Maggie

Tonight, I want to tell you a story about a little girl named Maggie.

I met Maggie in a mall between Allentown and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I believe. When I was shopping for insoles for my work shoes, so I could actually walk and drive home after I finished work every day. :)

Maggie, I think, was about two years old, with precious blond hair and bright blue eyes, and an adorable little smile. Scratch that part about only her blond hair being precious. SHE was precious. Such a cute little girl. I would be honored to take care of her any day, or even throw her up in the air and hear her precious little giggle or color pictures with her in Sabbath School. She was one of the most ADORABLE little girls I have EVER seen in my life. And I really mean it this time. (*grin*)

Anyway, so she was with her daddy when I walked into the store with my mom and dad, and she was toddling around the store like adorable little girls do when they are 24 months old and the love of every heart. The dad was looking at shoes, and he called to her (at this time I didn't know her name... And I adore the name Maggie... so my adoration of her grew twofold as soon as I heard her name, lol.)... "Maggie! Maggie, c'mere..." And she turned and looked at her daddy and she grinned. I can't imagine what it's like to be be the recipient of such a precious grin, when that grin comes from your own child. I think it would break my heart and mend it a million times in one second. One look like that, and I would be willing to die for that child. Believe me. I'm a sucker for kids.

So then little Maggie ran the few feet to her father and ran into his arms, and she clung to him like he was her life support when he lifted her to his side.

And then, he led her over to the pair of shoes he was considering. "Maggie, do you think Daddy should get these shoes?"

And while Maggie clung to her daddy's side, she grinned at him with all of her heart, her eyes, and her face and her mouth, and she proclaimed, "No..." But her eyes twinkled and her heart laughed.

So, in good humor, her daddy moved to another pair of shoes. "What about these, Maggie? Should Daddy buy these?"

Again... "No!!!" :) She was so precious.

I had to continue on my way to find relief for my poor feet on the road I travel, but in that moment, I saw the beauty of the relationship between a little girl and her daddy. And oh, how I want Maggie's easiness with her father to be the way I treat my Heavenly Father.

Till next time,
Ash the (Hopeful) Dreamer

03 July 2009

free

i am free. i always used to try and imagine what it meant to someone who hadn't always been free to be able to say that they were free.

but tonight i know the feeling.

this is probably the most petty thing in the world, but this has been a truly long week for me. :*( since i have returned from going to school in the midwest, i have been used to basically working about 25 hours a week (at the most), and only about 4 days a week. a pretty relaxed lifestyle. :) this week, however, they scheduled me for SIX DAYS, but not only that... i think i almost worked FORTY-FIVE HOURS this week. almost DOUBLE what i'm used to. so that, alone, set me on edge. working six days in a row. long hours. crazy lines of people at taco bell (why doesn't anybody take the driveway just before ours, and go to wendys?). so that was pretty bad. but not only that... i've been stressing about school a little bit, and i've really been missing my little sister who's away for the summer, working at a Christian camp. that's all cool and everything, but i've really missed her. :*( so lots has been going on, and i just felt imprisoned by my schedule. :*(

but now... now i feel free. granted, i probably don't feel like a slave felt after they were freed, but i still feel pretty stinkin' good!

i usually try and blog about what i want to reflect on during a holiday weekend, or in the case of Christmas, a whole month, but only one freeing Revolutionary matters to me tonight--not Ben Franklin, John Hancock, George Washington, or Samuel Adams. None of them changed my life personally. But Jesus did when He died.

So Jesus is the Revolutionary I celebrate tonight, as I worship on this Sabbath day. I celebrate Jesus, because He is the One who died for me. He is the One that let go of Himself, so I could reach my full potential. He is the One that rescued me and set my heart on fire. Even as I say all these things, the words seem void of meaning, because Jesus cannot be limited to words.

So today, I celebrate Jesus, for ALL He does. :)

On my way home from work today, I saw a humongous bird (not sure what it was; my brother says it could've been a golden eagle) take flight from the side of the road, and it narrowly missed my windshield before soaring above the towering trees. It was a majestic thing. I remember being in awe, just watching it, but being also so glad that I didn't collide with it...

And I, like that bird, am about to take flight to be free, narrowly missing all the dangers I have faced, but ready, oh so ready, to soar. :)

Ash the (Freed) Dreamer

20 June 2009

Sanctus Real

Oooh, just gotta get one more story in here! :)

Sometime this week, I had this weird dream that I met Sanctus Real at some playground somewhere in the country (probably somewhere in my state, but I dunno), and from there they came to my house and helped me paint my little brother's bedroom that's already been painted. lol. VERY strange.

So when I woke up, I logged into Twitter, and this is what I wrote:

"woke up about an hour ago. :))) had this awesome dream that i got to meet sanctus real! now, if only it would come true... :))))))))"

Then, later that day, Sanctus Real responded to meeeeeeeee!!!! :) This is what they said:

"@ashthedreamer Come to a show and say Hi...dream come true"

:)

BTW, "ashthedreamer" is me. :) Hard to figure out, I know. lol.

Just wanted to share that... :)

Ash the (ecstatic) Dreamer!

my favoritest little girls... :)

Delaney. That's my favoritest little girl's name. :) She's so adorable. She melts my heart every time I see her... I love her little sister--Kylie--too... Laney and Kylie. I hope their parents don't mind that I love them almost as much as they do. :)

So I actually have a story today... well, I'm going to try to form it into a story, anyway. :)

I was at camp meeting today--it's like this huge gathering of the Christians in my denomination for a week and a half, and we camp out, hear great preaching, have picnics, and enjoy the time off from the world to kick back with each other and God.

This year, I wasn't anticipating it as much as other years, because this was the first camp meeting since I'd met Laney and Kylie, and I didn't think they'd be there. Surprise! They were there today. :) Kylie, who's about two and a half, now, I think, surprised me in the bathroom, and I hung out with her while the lady taking care of her went toily--:). We spun around in circles and I threw her in the air, getting that precious smile out of her. :) She had to leave again, though, so I was really looking forward to seeing Laney a little later, after church was over.

I wasn't disappointed. When I went to the back of the gymnasium (it's held on a school campus) to get a bulletin, Laney spotted me, and the pure look of glee on her face overwhelmed me. :) I couldn't help smiling. "Hi, Laney!" I whispered and waved, and kept going. I knew I would talk to her later. :)

After church, I got to take her to her car--which I do a lot. :) When she saw me, she ran to me and I lifted her into my arms--I'm finding that little girls in my arms is one of the most precious cargoes I could carry ever. :) We talked as we jostled through the crowd, and she was holding my umbrella when we got outside... The way she looked at me with such an innocent face, her face all lit up in the joy of the moment, and proclaimed, "It's not rainin'!" :)))) My heart is taken. lol. :)

But I was just thinking... Laney and Kylie love people so easily... so it's easy for them to love my sisters and me. And Jesus loves us all first... and He calls us to come to Him as little children--why aren't we as eager to come to Jesus as Laney and Kylie are eager to come to my sisters Leah, Becca, and me? I don't know the answer to that--we all have our different answers.

But lately I've been working on not having to answer that question--because I will greet Jesus like Laney and Kylie greet me. That would be wonderful. I pray that I will do that one day very soon. :) I hope you do, too. :)

Happy weekend!
Ash the (loved) Dreamer

:)

12 June 2009

The Voyage of Beliefs (FM Static)

I have 2 brothers and a sister, and a mother,
And a father who taught us that we should
All love one another,
We go to church on Sunday,
In a little green hyundai,
Have some grape juice and crackers,
Then we start again on Monday

And it's all fine, and it's all well,
I really want to find what I believe for myself,
'Cause when you're gone,
And I'm still here,
I won't have you to tell me that I should be there

I'm tired of making excuses(oh oh oh),
Need to decide for myself...

What if I stumble? What if I fall?
When I'm on my way to You,
What if I need You? Who do I call?
How do I know I'll get through?
Because I don't wanna ride the fence anymore.
I wanna stand up, and shout it,
And let it be known

I have 2 fathers, and a sister and a brother,
And a mother who taught us that we should
All do unto others,
My homeroom teacher, always talks about her preacher
And she says she talks to God,
But I don't know if I believe her

And it's all fine, and it's all well,
I really want to find what I believe for myself,
'Cause when you're gone,
And I'm still here,
I won't have you to tell me that I should be there

I'm tired of making excuses(oh oh oh),
Need to decide for myself...

What if I stumble? What if I fall?
When I'm on my way to You,
What if I need You? Who do I call?
How do I know I'll get through?
Because I don't wanna ride the fence anymore.
I wanna stand up, and shout it,
And let it be known

And you can tell me,
That I can't make a difference 'cause I'm just one,
But one is all it takes to start it
And you can tell me,
That I can't change the world,
Because I'm too young,
But I won't stand here and be your target
And you can push me,
And try to knock me down, but I won't listen,
'Cause I've got nothing left to lose and,
You can hate me, for everything I'm not,
But it won't change this,
'Cause now that I'm here, I'm not moving

I'm tired of making excuses(oh oh oh),
Need to decide for myself...

What if I stumble? What if I fall?
When I'm on my way to You,
What if I need You? Who do I call?
How do I know I'll get through?
Because I don't wanna ride the fence anymore.
I wanna stand up, and shout it,
And let it be known

These are just the lyrics for a song that's really been makin' me think tonight. Thought I'd share. :) You can hear the song on myspace.com/fmstatic

ash the (musical) dreamer

on this day...



today is my little sister's birthday. it seems so strange not to celebrate it. :*( every year, we bring out the watermelon and the ice cream cake and her favorite meals and we go shopping for her favorite things, and my mom worries if the clothes she bought won't be fashionable enough... and i just laugh at it all.

but this year, spunky, lively, happy, thoughtful, smart, beautiful, lovely rebecca eileen richards is not with me. :*( everyone says we all have to grow up at one point, and i know it's true. but in many ways, becca has been my best friend and my greatest ally throughout my whole life. and on this day that i most want to be with her... we are miles away, and she's lonely. :*( it's enough to make me cry.

true, the house is quieter this summer (she's working at a summer camp halfway across the state, being a lifeguard, helping in the kitchen, and teaching gymnastics), but i ache for her spunky livelihood. :*( she's my sister, but she's so much more than that.

so today, don't take advantage of those relationships you have. i never imagined that i would have to worry about losing becca. i figured we would always be with each other and have each other. i knew we had rough patches sometimes, but we always worked through them. i took advantage of becca. :*( i never stopped to think that there would be a day that she wouldn't be with me. and now i don't know how to adjust for the rest of my life, the rest of my life, where becca and i will hardly live under the same roof ever again. :*( don't underappreciate the relationships you have. they are precious. don't forget to hug your mom even when you think you hate her, or to listen to your dad, even when his advice makes you want to scream. indulge your grandmother. appreciate your friends. you never know if they'll be gone.

becca's not really gone... i mean, i was texting her all night, and she'll be back in a month or two... but any one of our loved ones could be gone forever, in an instant. so don't take them for granted. appreciate them. love them. please.

so you don't end up crying while you're blogging in the dark on a friday evening.

:)

So here's to you, becca. may we never forget. if you ever read this, just know that as your big sister, i am CRAZY about you, and if you ever drop off the face of this earth, i will hunt you down until i see your face again. cuz i love you. like crazy. :)

that's all i have to say tonight.
Happy Sabbath!!!!

till the next time,
ash the (nostalgic) dreamer

the words we choose...

Today, I got into what felt like a pretty ugly fight. :*( I am a member of this baby name site... I use it to help name some of the characters in my stories, and to think of my favorite names that I would love to name my children someday, but, mostly, it's to appease my RIDICULOUS and sometimes unhealthy obsession with names. lol. :)

Anyway, it's called parentsconnect.com. They have all these different forums that people ask for advice and thoughts on names and such... And I just love that place. I think I spend more time on PC than I spend anywhere else. Which is kind of unhealthy, I think. :*(

Anyway... so I was on there today, and one of the other members mentioned that her cousin was going to name her daughter Jezebel. It pretty much appalled me, but I wasn't trying to castrate anybody or anything! But it turned into this cyber smashdown (is that the right word?) between atheists and Christians. Some other Christians were posting, but the majority of them didn't even know the story of Elijah and Jezebel... and I felt like I was battling the world, and I felt the harshness of the world very acutely. :*(

And I guess I said some things that really hurt some people, and I didn't want to. :*( And now, I just feel at a loss of how to reach people with Jesus. I feel called to take the news of Jesus to the world, but how do you even speak to people who are so hostile, so hostile against Jesus? I apologized profusely, but I wish I could have done it differently. I just don't know what I would have done instead. :*(

I remember Matthew West (a REALLY cool Christian singer dude!) blogging about how we choose our words, so that we don't go through the motions with what we say, and I remember it kind of hit me then, but it hits me even more now. I don't want to hurt people. I love people.

But how do you talk to people, witness like I feel Jesus wants me to, be kind as doves, and show them the tenderhearted Jesus and the truth that they are missing by a mile? How do you choose THOSE words? I just don't know. I mean, friendship seems to work in certain situations. And so do evangelistic series, but what else? It just seems like I can't get it right... :*(

Just something I've been thinking about a LOT today... :*(

Ash the (heartbroken) Dreamer

06 June 2009

coolest quote ever!!!!!

I was just listening to some old Matthew West songs (he's a Christian singer), and I just love this one line from this song called "Curtain". I don't really like the rest of the song--it's got this weird vibe that I'm not feelin' too much today (you can check it out on his myspace, though--www.myspace.com/matthewwest), but I love the first line!!!! :)

Anyway, here it is:

"Well I've been catching up on daydreams
I've been lost all afternoon...
Cuz I've been imaginin' the future
in a world of only You..."

The first line was what got me, but I think I love the first four lines now!!!!

Man, I think I wanna go daydream nowwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Just figured I would share that with you. :)

Ash the (totally) Dreamer
:)

Holy Moments...


This is going to be a short one, since my dad will get out of the shower any minute, and then we'll be off to church. :)

I've just been thinking, over the past 24 hours or less, about holy moments that I share with God. I don't know why, but in the middle of the night, when it's all dark, with no lights, as I listen to my favorite Christian music, as it seems like my story joins the music and we all go dancing through life... those are the holiest glimpses for me... I want to have them more often.

I've been missing God lately. Not that He's never around--He always is. :))))))) But I've been making my time with Him sparse, and I'm getting really ticked off at myself, that I do this to Him. He is worth so much more, and I really wish I wouldn't get caught up in the things that don't matter--catching up on TV shows, mainly, but just wasting time in general, wasting moments on things that don't matter. For a girl who feels called to revolutionize the world, I feel like I'm backing away from my purpose. :*(

God is merciful, and I'm learning. Sometimes I feel like this perfectly purposeful life is not even for me to grasp anymore, that I've messed up too much to live so perfectly in an instant, but I'm learning that grace doesn't listen to what Jesus' foe tries to tell me. I'm so grateful for that. And you don't have to wait for things to align perfectly, either. Grace is for the taking, and GRACE is for today. Take it. Grasp it. Believe it.

I wish I had a beautiful story to go along with this, a touching story to tell that will rapture your heart and make you believe... because stories have that tendency... but all I have is last night. :) It was a beautiful night. My family had all gone to bed; I was sitting in my father's recliner, and I had just read two Psalms for my Bible study... I was thinking about how sometimes, even after I'm past depression, it still doesn't make since and I don't know why God let it happen to me.

And then I turned on JCTV (this teenager Christian TV station), and it was a bunch of music videos, and I just watched... and all of a sudden, I was there. With Jesus in the room. And Matt Hammitt singing his song, and the lights flashing, and somehow was just dancing through it all, as Jesus led. Worship. That's what life's about.

And I want to experience it more.

Till the next time (hope it's not so long!!!),

Ash the (Worshipful) Dreamer

16 May 2009

:)

Today has been the best day of my life since I left to go to Union last semester. Just figured I would say that.

I ADORE these two little girls at my church (their names are Laney and Kylie...), and I got to hang out with them and play with them and help feed one of them (lol), and it was just SOOOOOOOOOOOO amazing. I love little kids, especially those two girls. :) I hope when I have little kids, they're as good as Laney and Kylie. :)

Okay. That's all. For now. I think. I got 2 books this week, and so far, the one I'm reading is MAGNIFICENT. :) I hope the rest of today is as good as lunch was!!! :)

Till later,
Ash the (Ecstatic) Dreamer :)

02 May 2009

hi. again. :)

i just wanted to say that. :)

finals start next week, so i'll be super-busy in the next week. :) for now, i have an awesome book that i'm allowed to borrow until tomorrow evening. :) it's called "ruth and boaz", by terri fivash. :) hopefully, i can finish it before i have to give it back! :)

ttyl, dudes! happy Sabbath!!!

ash the (reading) dreamer :)

20 April 2009

Eliza and Noah...

a few of my friends have been itching to be able to read a part of my story (i've been talking about it a little on here... it's about eliza and her family and her band, amelia). anyway, i decided to post a portion of it here...

so here's the very beginning! :)

::chapter1::

Eliza Audrey Gray tucked the wispy golden-blond tendrils that had fallen out of her loose ponytail behind her left ear. She peaked over her book as she watched Noah, Abby, and Grant play Scrabble on the table.

She glanced out the window of the bus nonchalantly. A sign proclaimed

CHARLOTTE 12 MI
BELMONT 24 MI

She smiled behind her book, loving that her friends were having such a good time. She thought of her big brother, Jacob, who was keeping their cousin, Sam, company while he drove the bus. The five of them made a great group. There was Eliza, and her brother Jacob, who had always been one of her best friends, and then Eliza’s best friend, Abby Patterson, and Noah Leeland and Grant Devlin. Grant was Abby’s fiancĂ© and Jacob’s best friend. And Noah? Well, Noah had always been there, had always been a friend, had always made her laugh and be glad she was alive. Together, they made up the up-and-coming Christian band that everyone was watching, Amelia. More than that—they were family.

On this ride in their bus—the bus that Abby had insisted they name Rosalie, Rosey for short—they were headed in the direction of Belmont, North Carolina. It was a Sunday morning, and they were set to do a concert for the youth group at the church that evening. They planned on stopping to eat in Charlotte, only a few miles away, before they reached Belmont to set up for the concert.

As it was, three of them were steeped in a passionately competitive game of Scrabble while their road manager slept in the back and as Jacob kept Sam company. Eliza was left by herself, reading, but she didn’t mind. One of her headphones was in her right ear, and she hummed along with Sanctus Real’s lead singer, Matt Hammitt, as he sang the song he had written. She was mostly reading her book, but, at the moment, she had temporarily lost interest.

She studied Noah, on the other side of the bus, tapping one of his wooden pieces against his lip as he considered his options. A slow smile covered her face. Noah. When she first met him in the seventh grade, she would have never thought she would fall for him like a crazy schoolgirl. But she had.

She blushed behind her book, simply at the thought of it. But she would have been crazy to not fall for Noah Leeland. With his gorgeous dark brown hair, dazzling blue eyes, and quick, dimpled charmer-smile, she couldn’t imagine a guy who looked better. Even if he was in jeans and a tee-shirt. What was she saying? Especially if he was in jeans and a tee-shirt! It wasn’t just his looks, either. . . He was tender and gentle and humble, and he loved Jesus more than she could have hoped any man on the earth ever would. He was tenderhearted and kind to the fans who just wanted to meet the great Noah Leeland, and he was a leader among them in the band. . . She couldn’t imagine falling for anyone more perfect.

He had a slight shadow on his jaw from shaving the night before, when they had had a concert in Lynchburg, Virginia. His blue eyes studied the board, and he laid down three pieces—an L, A, and D. He glanced over at Eliza, and she raised her book an inch or two. He flashed her his dimpled grin and winked at her. She sighed. Noah Andrew Leeland, shameless flirt.

He nodded his head to her, indicating that she should come join them at their game.

She glanced down at her lap, covered in a purple fleece blanket her little sister, Hadley, had made for her before they had left on the tour. She loved the white stitching that offset the lavender purple. She groaned as she focused on Noah’s request again. “I’m comfortable,” she protested.

He rolled his eyes at her. “Come on.”

She unfolded her legs. “Fine,” she huffed, and she sauntered over to them. Noah moved over, making room for her. When she sat down, he deposited his arm around her. “Hi,” she said.

Noah glanced down at her and bent to whisper in her ear. “You’re my good-luck charm,” he whispered. “You and that oversized brain of yours. I’m gonna lose if you don’t help me.”

She giggled as she looked at his set of wooden chips. W, X, Y, Z, H, N, and O. “Wow, you sure know how to pick ‘em, don’t you?” she whispered under her breath.

“Hey!” Abby protested. “No teams.”

Eliza laughed. “Honey, he needs it. Besides, I know you when it comes to this game. You’re fully capable.”

Abby mumbled under her breath something about how she was going to need some help if Eliza was on Noah’s side, and Eliza laughed and whispered hints to Noah for the remainder of the game.

***

So that was the first scene... Hope y'all liked it! :)

till the next time,
ash the (resting) dreamer

16 April 2009

trusting Jesus...

just wanted to post a little update since my "prayer" blog... :) life hasn't been too easy for me in the past couple days... i've been worrying way too much, probably since i don't feel like i've been listening to God's voice too much. there's some things that really mean a lot to me, and i've grown to love them incredibly, and the idea of cutting them out of my life because it's God's will is very hard for me. when i love something, i don't want to let it go...

anyway, i've just been thinking about what it means to trust in God lately, to give everything to Him and to stop trusting in myself. when i was younger, i didn't have as many complications with life and i knew right where i was going. depression complicates and confuses things a lot, and i really haven't known where i was going with a lot of things lately... i've been really trying to live life like God wants me to, but it feels so strange to listen to God completely now. a good strange, but still very different.

it makes me sick that i've lost hold of this relationship so much that i barely knew to seek it anymore...

and yet, i have a paper due tomorrow, and i really want to work on this story, but i am so adamant about not moving forward until i know God's will. and every time i think about this story that i so want to write, i'm afraid that, by even considering it, i am going against God's plan for me.

i want to seek God's will. i want to do what He has called me to do. even if it means bidding eliza and noah and hadley and amelia and james and olive and bristol and lulu and abby and grant and bailey and the baby and sam and nathan and all the other characters in this story... i just wish it was easier to hear God's voice.

has anyone else come across that? i always thought i had the answers when i was younger, that i knew just where life was headed and just the place i needed to be as it moved along, but i'm not so sure anymore. in the past couple days since my last blog, though, one thing has become CRYSTAL clear to me. i want to walk with Jesus, to follow in His footsteps and keep His commands, to follow His vision for me, and to always love like Jesus loved. i know writing stories will always be a part of who i am and what i do, but for now, i am content to watch movies with naomi and tease my brother and sisters and anticipate when my father arrives on may 6 to take me home to a beautiful hill in southeastern pennsylvania, where my heart and dreams lie. maybe that baby girl in my story will be maria. maybe i'll get to tell eliza's story. and maybe i won't. maybe i don't know where life is headed anymore.

but now i have Jesus at my side, and i know He is guiding me in the direction i need to go, and that's more than i could have said a couple of days ago.

until next time,
ash the (waiting) dreamer :)

14 April 2009

Dear God...

Dear God,

I know this isn't the conventional sort of blog, but people should learn to expect that right now. I just need to get away and pray, and if people actually do read this, then I'm guessing that they will need to get away and pray, too! So I hope this is a reminder to them how much relationships with You matter.

Precious, precious Lord, STOP ME FROM THE CRASH COURSE I AM HEADED INTO! I mean this with all of my heart, and it is driving me crazy that I won't let myself give into Your way. All these crazy things are going on in my head, and I think I'm either about to drive myself CRAZY enough that I will do something I'll regret. And NOBODY needs that. Or, I'll just collapse because I've tried so hard to do it on my own.

Why are we so eager to try and fix things ourselves?

Jesus, half of the people that read this blog won't understand what I'm talking about for some of these things, but I know You do.

Jesus, I know You have called me to write this story about Eliza and Noah and all the others, but I'm reading WAY too much into the details of it all, and now I really REALLY don't know what I'm doing! Thank You for a few breakthroughs in the story--Lulu and Bristol are perfect additions to the cast, and the idea of James using his middle name when he gives his life over to You again--Jesus, that's ingenious and I love it. And Jesus, I thought I loved Arianne, and sometimes I think I still do, and I used to love the nn Ari, but now I don't even know anymore. I've had so many problems with that name... not really because I believe that it's the name I want instead of the name You want, but because I've been trying to force things and I've been trying to GO. MY. OWN. WAY. And that is not Your way. THAT is the heart of the problem. Maybe your plan is for me to use Arianne. Maybe your plan is for me to use Elena. Maybe Your plan is for me to keep Cara or Amelia. I don't know. But I don't want to move forward until I am walking in Your will, because everything else is throwing me off balance! And then I keep trying to push it and push it, and it's NOT working.

Jesus, help me to stop thinking about it. Help my mind to just rest in You and know that You are in control of the story about Eliza and Noah and the band Amelia and the whole story. You birthed that story a long time ago, and I know You have a magnificent plan for it, a plan to change the world. Now everybody on PC wants to read it, but I need to get right with You before I can move forward and share this gift with the world. You and me first. THEN everybody else!

And Jesus, then there's history. I've put it off too long, and I know I need to get it done, but it takes TOO MUCH TIME, and all I want to do is have a Sabbath again, since I missed it last weekend. :*( I'm sorry about that, too, Jesus. You deserve better than what I worshiped. :*(

Lord, help me to do my best for You. Help me to stop fixating on these things that don't even matter, and help me to LOVE You and WORSHIP You, and put You on the pedestal, and then everything will come.

Jesus, help me to stop fixing things. Help me to stop going crazy. I need Your peace in my life... Before I go CRAZY!

Jesus, I know You are with me, and I'm so grateful that You have heard my prayer. Guide me as I do my homework tonight, heal my wounds from falling so much, and teach me to put You first, not anything else. Amen.

(Sorry, y'all, if you didn't want to hear my prayer life... but it's something that has been really bothering me lately, and I figured it was something the whole world needs to deal with, too!)

Till next time,
Ash the (Wounded) Dreamer