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! :)


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


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

13 April 2009

The First Amazing Story of Ashley the Magnificent... lol.

This time, I actually have a good story to tell! I have to speedy-type it, though, since I have to read quite a bit for history, I wanted to be in bed by midnight, and I haven't even started yet! AHH! LOL.

Okay, so this story of Ashley the Magnificent (my self-imposed hero name) takes places very early this morning, when it had barely become this morning. I was getting ready to go beddy-bye, and I was in my bunk in my dorm room, snuggling under my beautiful pastel quilt that my mommy made me when I was ten, and listening to music and saying my evening prayers, while my roommate continued to do her homework. She had a small light on by the door, so the room was dimly lit. As I listened to a song I really liked (at this point, I have no clue what song it was; for details' sake, let's say it was "Let It Out Now" by Leeland. *grin*), I noticed a monstrous spider crawling across the ceiling of our dorm room, and getting ready to hide between the ceiling and the overhead light!

Now, Ashley the Magnificent is deathly afraid of spiders biting her in her sleep, so she screamed like the little girl she loves to pretend to be, and squealed "EWWWW!!!!" in hopes that her roommate was braver than she was. (Remind me why I am Ashley the Magnificent? lol) But alas, Kelli the Wise is even more scared of bugs than Ashley the Magnificent, so she says, "EWWWW!!!! Kill it!!!!" And she tries to hand me her flipflop! I get a vaguely confused look on my face, and I ask, "How am I supposed to kill it! I don't even know where it went!!!!"

So then Kelli the Wise said, "What about bugspray?"

Ashley the Magnificent (aka Ashley the Mentally Challenged) said, "Oh, I think I have some!"

So I climbed off of my bunk bed and searched in one of my boxes, and found a can of bugspray with Deet in it! All well and good, so I sprayed it straight up in the air. Voila! And the spider was knocked onto the ground, and I ground it to smitherines with my beautiful ballerina flat! (Or ballet flat, which is the correct term? I can never remember, lol.)

So, you may ask, why does Ashley the Magnificent call herself Ashley the Mentally Challenged?

Well, I will tell you! Because I sprayed the bugspray STRAIGHT UP! Meaning, I was directly underneath it! And the mist sprayed down, INTO MY MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SUPER GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!! Has anyone else tasted Deet? Cuz it is NASTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wiped my tongue off on my sleeve and went to go get a drink.

Little did I know that Deet is HIGHLY POISONOUS! (Thanks, Mom, for telling me that, 24 hours AFTER I let that stuff get in my mouth!) UGH! If I didn't keel over and die by now, do you think I'm safe? I hope so! Cuz if I'm not, I dunno what to do! :*(

Y'all, pray for me, that Deet doesn't have a delaying poisonous effect! I don't wanna die!!!!

LOL. That was the highlight of my semester. That, and falling on the sidewalk TWICE in twenty-four hours! My foot's swollen, I ache all over, and I think I might have bruised my butt an scraped off a layer of toe nail on my left foot! (I was wearing flipflops). Other than that, it's life as usual... well, have a good week, everybody! Not sure when I'll blog again. :)

Happy day!

Till later,
Ash the (Hopeful again) Dreamer! :))))

12 April 2009

Pray for Me...

I echo the title of this post. If you've ready any of my blogs, you have probably heard about my struggle with depression. Most days, recently, I have been winning in that struggle. This weekend, though, the struggle has been on the losing end for me. I don't know why--I can never say why. I don't know if there really is a reason why depression exists, beyond the fact that evil exists, and as long as evil exists, hurt and confusion--and this cancer that we call depression--will also exist.

I have a book report due on Friday; I still have two or three research papers due before the end of the semester; I still have about 25 days left until I get to travel home, and I just have too much on my plate right now to deal with depression. No one should ever have to deal with depression, but I guess it is a fact of life. I was really getting excited about this book I was writing, though (it's called Arianne; it's such a hopeful book, about love and hope and healing, all the stuff I need right now), but I have come to learn that depression and my hopeful stories don't mix, because when I write about hope when I'm filled with despair, it might sound hopeful to others, but writing is a form of healing for me, and when I try to help others heal when I'm broken-hearted... It just doesn't work. So I'm going to have to lay aside Arianne and Eliza and Noah and Hadley and Jacob and Amelia and Abby and Grant and Olive and Sam and Nathan and Bailey and Jewel and all my other characters in this book. God has a mighty purpose behind that book, and if I get in the middle of it now, I will just ruin the gem that God placed in my life. It is so hard to make these decisions, but when depression comes in like this, I know what I need to do now.

Sometimes dealing with depression is the hardest thing I think I ever have to do. If you never experienced clinical depression, you might not understand, and I understand that I am rambling right now, trying to deal with the pain and the hurt that depression forces upon my heart. And as my tears fall and I try to figure out what is next, I know three things: one, God is with me; two, God will give me hope (even when I can't see it), and three, I can NEVER. EVER. GIVE. UP. Depression isn't worth it. I know I'll come to a brighter day in my life, and I know I'll get through this. It's just... right now I wish Satan was already in hell and Jesus had extincted this cancer that I have--the cancer of depression. Everyone has their own battle--this is mine. I just pray that God will give me the strength to endure it.

Oh, my throat burns. I think somehow my throat became inflamed during the time that I wrote this. Not sure how. Pray for me, anyway. If you read this. God has a plan for me that only He knows. Maybe one day, He'll see fit to reveal it to me.

Until then, I keep moving forward. Pray for me. Please. It is so hard to deal with depression.

Ash the Jaded Dreamer (hopefully, tomorrow I'll be the Hopeful Dreamer)

PS... Happy Easter. Don't let my gloominess let you forget the hope that Jesus brought to this earth 2000 years ago.

PPS... The picture is of me and my little second cousin, Benjamin. :) He's so cute. Anyway, it echos back to a happier, less depressed time (Spring Break!). Happy Weekend, guys!

10 April 2009

A Hope and a Revolution

I can't believe that it is going to be Easter on Sunday. I haven't really celebrated Easter as much as the common Christian does... Because I know it's was built on top of a pagan holiday, but so was Christmas, so go figure. Anyways!

But Easter does hold a lot of meaning for me. I like being home, and being with family, and coloring Easter eggs and writing all the names of the characters in the story I am writing all over the Easter eggs, and the way my family thinks I'm crazy for doing so, and hiding Easter eggs for my two little sisters to find, and eating this amazing egg concoction called "Goldenrod" that my dad makes every Easter for supper, and going to the Easter Sabbath program the day before Easter, and hearing about all the hype and seeing what is in my Easter basket... all that yummy candy and an occasional gift (this year, I think my mom sent me two! I won't get the package till Monday, though).

Anyway, all of these Easter traditions my family has reminds me of home tonight, and I just wish that I could be there. Whose bright idea was it to make spring break to be a month before Easter in college? Yeah, they needed a brain transplant, that's for sure.

By this time today, about two thousand years ago, if this was the actual weekend that Jesus was crucified, Jesus would have already faced all the torture. Last night, He would have been publicly humiliated before Caiaphas and Annas, and tried unfairly, and eventually spit upon and flogged and punched. By now, the crown of thorns has been pressed so deeply into the soft flesh around His temples that He bled. And bled. And bled. And He has already walked up that long walk from the Via Doloroso to the Place of the Skull, and He had seen how they had forced Simon to bear His burden. And then, He stumbled to the ground when one of the Roman soldiers shoved Him there, and He bit His lip so hard that blood came out when they pounded the nails into the soft flesh just below His wrists to keep from crying out. And when they nailed His feet to the cross, silent tears trailed down His grimy face, and He glanced over to see His momma, at the front of the crowd, shaking and sobbing, not understanding. He didn't understand! And when they lifted the cross from the ground! It jolted His body with more excruciating pain than He had ever experienced, and when they dropped His tree into the ground, the nails ripped bigger holes in His feet and his hands, and His head bounced off of the wood. The thorns pressed deeper into the back of his head, and fresh blood oozed out of his head. He waited for hours--He waited for hours to DIE. At one point, He saw the pain and loneliness in His momma's eyes, and the fear in John's eyes. And He gave His mother to John. More waiting. More pain. And on top of it all, all Jesus experienced was that He was dying. And His Father had rejected Him. I'll never see Him again, He must have thought. And then, He cried out, "It is finished!" And it was finished. And God died.

Can you imagine? Why do we downplay the raw emotion in this story? To these people--John, Peter, Mary, Judas, Jesus--this wasn't a BEGINNING. It was the bitter END! And it was bitter and painful and cruel and heartless, and we go and pain Easter eggs and wave to the Easter bunnies all over the malls and by the side of the road and we watch passion plays, and yet, the last time I cried about when they killed Jesus was when I was an innocent six-year-old. Jesus, why do we make little of You? World, why do we let everything get in the way of seeing how beautiful and loving and present Jesus is? World, why are we content with the Easter Bunny when we can have JESUS?

The Christian church says that Easter is about hope, and it is. And I don't want to downplay that. But Easter is also about a revolution that began. And I'm afraid half of us have lost the fervor for that revolution.

Jesus, help me to have the hope and the revolution. Amen.

Until next time,

03 April 2009

a short one...

i realized that i have been getting away from my two purposes of this blog: 1, to write what Jesus tells me to, and 2, to make life interesting again. i have failed on both counts, and i'm not really going to post any more blogs unless i feel called to do so.

in other quick news, this week i asked to be a "name pro" on a baby naming website... lol. for me, this is almost monumental. to a lot of other people, it makes me look like a dork, which i am, so i embrace my dorkness. i'm still thinking and praying about it. we'll see what happens. i told anabel i would let her know by the end of this weekend, so i'll have to decide soon.

fairwell, bloggers, until the inspiration comes. :)

ash the dreamer