You're Not Alone...

Last night I was saying good night to Jake on the front step of my house, then when I went to unlock the door, I couldn't get in! The door was unlocking, but it wouldn't budge. Thankfully the back door was unlocked, but for some reason I thought someone might have been in the house. I think being alone in there is making me squirrely. So Jake and I searched the house from top to bottom(we decided not to be alone in the house together EVER, but this situation called for some hero intervention), and even though there was obviously no one there, I decided to stay with one of the girls from school anyways. I know that God is with me, but there is just something about having other people around that I sense His presence more clearly.

I called my landlord, and he gave me the code for the garage door opener; I think I will wander over there before work so that I can eat some lunch.

I am sure some of you have seen my Facebook status about bellydancing. To reiterate, Jake and I went for a walk to see if I could find the dance studio. We did, but to my chagrin and even horror, I found out that the studio also does tarot reading and numerology, not to mention reiki(which is strange enough). I was dumbfounded for a moment, and my first response was to not go anywhere near the place. We talked about it for a bit, and thought maybe I could try it out at least once. However, I knew that if I stepped one foot in that building, I might be opening up a whole other door for evil to penetrate my life, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't enjoy the class as much as I would like. So I have decided to take it at the community centre where it will hopefully be less influenced by spiritualism.



Home Alone 5 ...

Well, thanks to all my very good friends, Missy, Rob, Nathaniel, Tricia, and Jake, I am moved in to my new place! It is even more beautiful than I remember! The only thing that I need to ask my landlord about is to get some screens in the sliding door and the kitchen window. There needs to be some air circulation upstairs!

The moving party was amazing. We only filled one and a half cars, but I felt really awful because I have a lot of stuff. However, most of what I own I have- I have only left a few boxes of my stuff at mom and dad's.

Nathaniel and Tricia made a delicious meal of ground beef sauce over mashed potatoes, and cooked snow peas and broccoli with butter. I know, your mouth is melting as you read this. So is mine! They stayed until 10:45pm, and then I was left alone. In that house.

It kind of freaked me out, but it was fun. I feel like a grown up now! And I want to take pride in my house, and keep it clean and everything. I can't wait for my roommates to move in.

Thursday is my last night of work at this tuxedo shop. It is very bittersweet, as I will miss working with these people, but I am very happy to be doing something else as well. I cannot wait to go to the library!



Goodbyes and Packing...

Only in hindsight do you realize the irony of things. You can spend a whole summer living with people, but it is only at the moment of their departure that you wish you had spent more time with them while they were here. That is how I am feeling right now. One of my roommates, Leanne, who graduated in May, left on Friday for her home in London, and the other, Christina, is moving to Calgary to spend four months there, then will be living in the Czech Republic for another four months. Both of these women are amazing, and I am pleased to have had the privelege of getting to know them. I will miss them so much, and I wish them all godspeed in the next stage of their lives!!!

Yesterday marked mine and Jake's third month of dating. We had Missy and Rob over, and we all, including Caitlyn, enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner! It was a lot of fun! Afterwards, Jake and I celebrated dating by watching a Bollywood movie he bought in Toronto two months ago, called Jodhaa Akbar. It was a very good movie, for Bollywood. It wasn't overly cheesy, and actually had a happy ending! I have been wanting to watch it for a long time, so it seemed appropriate. I like dating him :D

Today, after a week's worth of turmoil and prayer about my living and schooling situation, I feel at peace. I have decided to stay where I am, and to switch into a 3 year bachelor, in just a general degree. I would like to finish in my current program, but without going into a mountain of debt, or taking time off to save up money, I think this is the most sensible course of action to take. This way, I only have to take four more courses, and I will be finished. I am moving into a house walking distance from the campus, which I will be sharing with two other girls. Since I will only be taking two courses this semester, I need to find another job to help out with things, and to seriously save up some money.

I am not copping out on missions. I know that God has called me to go into missions, but not by means of debt. However, I am going to finish a degree because I believe that this will be something of a personal accomplishment, and commitment to God with the money that I do have saved up. I have never finished anything major in my life before, and I want to finish this. After, I don't know what God has planned. I want to get my TESOL certificate and teach English to people, or learn a spate of languages and communicate the love of God with others. Or both. I just want to use the gifts God has given me so that His name may be glorified!

I know that if this is not what God wants for my life, if I am going against His will, that He will open and shut doors as he sees fit.

Ah, now on to packing. What a dreadful bore. I am excited, though, because after my shift tomorrow, I am having lovely friends come over and help me move, and then we will hang out!!! This makes me very excited indeed!!! I hope some of you can come and see my house. It is exceptionally nice!

Just a shout out to all those people I have been stressing on lately, namely mom and dad, and Jake...I just want to thank you all for your care, support, and patience. Most of all, I want to thank you for your prayers!!! And Nana, thank you so much for your faithful comments, even though you don't have to write them. They are very encouraging, and make me want to write more often.

I also want to publicly thank my Lord and God, who, even though it may seem like He is messing with me, patiently teaches me and carries me through the mountains and valleys of life. It is to you alone I surrendered my life when I called upon your name and believed, and it is to You alone that I continue with my education in hopes of serving you here in school and in whatever ministries it is that you would have me serve you in! I love you LORD!!!

Love always,


The Nine hour shift....

Why did I agree to get up so early to go open the store this morning, all for some guys to take down the sign, and on my last Saturday shift too?

With a fuzzy head and a slight headache, I awoke this morning, and as I tried to convince myself that it is time to get up, I realized that I didn't have too much time to get ready.

Even now, I should be leaving for work, but my body won't function, and my body sinks into the couch, obvious disdain for early mornings...



I don't know much...

I have absolutely no clue what God is trying to teach me right now. Patience? Trust? Faithfulness?

Could be any number of those things. Could be all of them. Could be that He just wants me to learn that I am not in control. Never have been. Never will be.

I know I have people all around me who I can talk to, but no one has the answer. They are all supportive, but no one has the words.

Only God has the words to give. Even if it was through someone, that would be helpful. I don't know how he is going to show me his plan for my life, but I am waiting with bated breath. Waiting with tears running down my face. Waiting with outstretched arms for him to take away the fears of uncertainty, of doubt, of change.

I don't know much. Compared to God, I don't know anything at all.

But I can be comforted with that fact.

God knows everything.

And that is all I need to know.



Banana Muffins and a restless heart...

I have quite a few bananas that need to be eaten up. I bought them last week, and while they are not black yet, they are certainly far too gone to eat by themselves. I found an easy recipe online, and am looking forward to making them.

Yesterday I went to Zehrs three times in hopes of acquiring banana boxes for packing, but I seemed to miss it just before they crushed them all. I am now the proud owner of four boxes, waiting to be picked up. I decided to put in a request instead of chancing it each time. I am not really looking forward to packing. It is a sad time, and somewhat stressful. However, I decided that I am going to try to pack as lightly as I absolutely can, meaning seriously going through my things to decide what I will keep and what I will throw or give away. Yesterday I took some sweaters that I haven't been wearing to the used clothing bins across the road, which lightened my drawers substantially.

I was reading in Ruth today, just finishing up her marriage to that nice man Boaz, and headed on over to 1 Samuel. I was impressed with Hannah's faith and determination, despite the cruelty of her husband's other wife. She brought her barrenness before the Lord, and wept before Him, but made a vow that if he gave her a child she would give it to him. That is the ultimate in surrender! I have always thought it would be so hard to do, but as I think about it, she would be so grateful to have a child that she may have given it back as a blessing with joy in her heart. I am not quite sure. Whatever her emotions, God still blessed her with three more sons and two daughters, because of her faithfulness and surrender to him. It is stories like these that inspire me in pursuing faithfulness and trust in God.

I am excited, because in two more days it is mine and Jake's three month anniversary! It feels like longer than that, while at the same time I am still incredulous that we are dating! It makes me so happy, and thankful to God!



Water is Good...

I went home on the week-end, and had a great but challenging time with my family. This is one of those times when I wish I wasn't an adult, and that people would just make decisions for me.

I learned a lot in my devotions today, from Judges 20-21 if you can believe it. I learned that when the Israelites needed to know God's will there were a few things involved:

1.) They came before Him. They sought Him out. They didn't just sit back in their lazy boys and expect God to give them answers.
2.) They were humble. They openly wept before their God, which can sometimes be a humbling experience.
3.) They asked and inquired of God what His will was for them. How else could they have known if they did not ask?
4.) They were persistent, and prayed from morning until night. They did this not just once, but three times.
5.) They fasted, allowing God to speak to them without being distracted by food.
6.) They presented burnt offerings to him on behalf of their requests.

What do we need to do to ask God about His will?
1.)Be there-Seek His face
4.)Be persistent-don't give up on God
6.)Surrender-present ourselves as "living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is our spiritual act of worship" (Rom. 12:1)

Even though God didn't tell me what His will, for now I need to do these things.

Love, Ashleigh


Quiero Tu solo...

It is hard for me at times to put my thoughts into words. Even when I speak, there is a level of uncertainty that comes from a longing for people to understand me, knowing that my mouth does not always communicate with clarity. I think there is a desire in all of us to be understood. I know that it is easier for women to understand other women, because we know where all those emotions come from, and how they can be irrational yet completely rational at the same time. Men also understand men, and women, at times, can understand men. They seem to be so logical, so cut and dry, the problem solvers. It is the relationship between men and women that is so perplexing, the underlying tension when a woman tries to explain what she is feeling to a man. Oftentimes, she leaves him confused and frustrated at the unexpectedness of her outbursts, the fragility of her weaknesses, and the serenity of her happiness. It is highly doubtful that a man can truly understand her in every facet of her being.

I am blessed to be in a relationship where I am steered towards the One who understands me completely. No matter what happens in life, when it feels as if the carpet is being pulled out from under me, when all my feelings going down the drain, when I feel as if I am going to fall off the balance beam, God reaches for my hand and says, "I've got you."

I feel this reassurance every time I hear him say, "It's going to be ok", or "We'll get through this" or simply when he holds my hand.

I am blessed beyond belief to be in a relationship where I see clearly how God works, when He gives the words to say just at the moment I need them. Jake is never afraid of the truth, and he does not steer away from it. When I feel that no one will understand, when I am brought to my knees in the wake of my own feminity, God says, "It's going to be ok." Not only does He comfort me through His own words in the Bible, but also through the security and trust I feel when I am being hugged by my boyfriend.

This truly is a gift from God, and I find myself looking on in speechless wonderment, dependent on His incredible and undeserved grace.



Things are not as they may seem...

During my homework for one of my mission courses, I learned that God tends to speak to Muslims through dreams and visions, which then usually leads them to conversion to Christianity. I was pondering that, trying to think about why God would choose to speak to them specifically in that way. I was talking about it with my prof, and perhaps it's just that they are more open to that than some people. I know that there are many of us who have dreams, and sometimes they are weird, but other times they seem to have meaning and significance of some sort. I think it is so neat that God can use dreams to draw people closer to him, so that they will want to seek after him.

I was also thinking about persecution, and about how it can make people stronger. It isn't that we have to go looking for it to actually have more faith. I guess it just depends on what situation we are in and how God calls us to react. For instance, if I was in a country where they told me not to speak about God, I could obey them, but only do it in hiding; or I could disobey them, and continue speaking about God freely, trusting that it will bring glory to His name, especially through my own persecution. There is a verse, Psalm 116:15, which says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Perhaps I am taking it out of context, but I looked at the verses before and after and it did not seem to make sense with either ones. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that whatever we do, whether we live or die for Christ, we are bringing glory to God. That is the heart of the matter.

Another thing I was thinking about is this:
what is our commitment to God as compared to other religions?
This is something I have to remind myself of often, especially when I am learning about Islam, where they pray five times a day. I know this is legalistic in a sense, and God does not have said "rules" for us to follow, per se, however, he does say pray without ceasing(1 Thess. 5:17). Are we commited to prayer, to fasting, to meditation of us word, and other spiritual disciplines, such as tithing, and solitude? He says, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10). When do we stop and think about all that He has done, contemplate just who God is? People from other religions can put us to shame sometimes, with their dedication. This isn't about comparison, though. This is about you and God. Your relationship. And it's about you and God and the body of Christ. How do we relate to other Christians? Do we let them encourage us, and pray for us, do we encourage and support them? Do we rebuke them when they are doing wrong things like we are supposed to? How committed are we?



Lanacane and Chocolate Covered Cranberries...

Yesterday as I was going to go out of my mind crazy like I have been for the past couple of days, I went to Zehrs in hopes to find a strong substance with which to give my feet a blessed break from the painful itching. I ran into a lady I know who works there, and she suggested that I try Lanacane instead of After Bite. I was hesitant, but bought it anyways, even though it is quite a bit more expensive. I put it on my feet, and had relief, not just for the moment, but for quite literally HOURS afterwards. I feel like I could do a testimonial for their company, I am so impressed.

Caitlyn bought chocolate covered Cranberries, and I think they are the most delicious thing ever. Even more than chocolate covered raisins, which I am usually very fond of.

I have been given so many things to think about lately, and it is somewhat overwhelming. I am not much of a thinker for things that matter, so it's a little bit hard at times, but I am excited for how God is stretching me and my mind.

Last night was fun, as we went out for dinner to celebrate Nathaniel's birthday. It was great to get together with friends and laugh and eat and share food. I enjoyed it :)



Where the heart is...

The Plan:

1.) Go to work
2.) Work work work
3.) Finish work
4.) Go to Nathaniel's birthday party
5.) Eat eat eat
6.) Come home
7.) Putter
8.) Dream of sleep............

So, that's the plan is it? Well I like it!!!



A million mosquito bites...

I am running on maybe 7 hours sleep in the past 2 days, due to the very real fact that my mosquito bites make it very difficult to get some good shut-eye. I never said I liked them, but I am starting to see how God uses the mundane and annoying things in life to draw us closer to Him.

When you can't sleep at night, you start to do things you wouldn't normally do, like take time to listen to sermons (maybe for some of you that is part of your daily routine, and I commend you!). The one I chose was on prayer, and the pastor(Mark Driscoll) did an excellent job with it. I took notes while I was listening, and I am very encouraged to pray! His sermon was outlining how we can pattern our prayer after the way Jesus prayed.

I was just sitting there, slightly annoyed at how early I was up, when all of a sudden I realized, "Hey, there is a purpose in this; when I don't take time to spend focusing on God, sometimes He does things to get our attention, and He does it in the most unpredictable of ways!"

It was neat, because I couldn't get to sleep at all in the first place. I decided to be proactive, and soaked my feet in chammomile tea. It worked, and I felt sleepy, and fell asleep on the couch for two hours. When I moved to my bed, the effects of the soaking lasted for only two hours after that. However, I did get four hours sleep, which I am so grateful for, as it is definitely better than nothing.

I am just grateful for the way God grabbed my attention, and said, "Hey! I want to spend some time with you! I need to tell you some things that you need to hear!"

Sometimes a million mosquito bites can prove to be less annoying than one would think...



When love takes over...

I am listening to a techno song called "when love takes over". It's SOOOO good, and I can't stop replaying it!!

Last night Jake and I went on a date down by the river, and I got mosquito bites all over my feet again! You would think i would have learned from the last time. I am not all that upset- they are worth every moment that I spent with him!

It was the best day ever at work. We were quite steady, and we made so much money! The day went by fast, and I was so happy!

I hung out with Missy tonight, kept her company because she was feeling lonely. That's the best part about having friends, they are always there for you when you need them!



Whining? No me likey...

It doesn't happen very often, but today I feel like whining. And complaining. And anything else you can think of to make my life feel more miserable.
That's the worst part. It isn't miserable, and I know that. Just today I woke up feeling unrested, and then have felt very "not myself" for the rest of the day. It's just one of those things women go through sometimes, and only women understand. How unfortunate.

However, I am resolved to not let this mood take over. I am in control of the situation, I must CHOOSE joy, even when I don't feel like it at the time.

Tomorrow I am going to work with my manager. It will be strange to work a Saturday with only 2 people, but hopefully that means the day might go by faster.

I should go, going on a date with Jake tonight :D At least it's a nice night for a walk.



We're so far away...

This is officially my 300th post on this blog since March of 2006. That may not seem like many after more than 3 years of writing blogs here, but it's still something worth celebrating. I have really enjoyed sharing some thoughts, and there is something singularly satisfying about seeing one of my blogs post, knowing that at least ONE person will read it and comment. It's not that my life is particularly interesting, but somehow I just enjoy sharing. The interesting part is that I not only write blogs some days, but also write in my journal..... I have a lot to say and think about.

I have been reading in Judges lately during my devotions. This morning I was reading about Gideon and how God called a simple man to do his work in saving Israel from the Midianites. It was incredible how even in ancient Bible times people did the same things we do now. Gideon was complaining to God about how weak he was, and how he couldn't do anything, even when God had JUST finished saying that he would be right there with him. I know I often call myself weak in the face of things I cannot accomplish. But if God can promise to be with someone like Gideon, I am no different!

Nana sent me this in an e-mail, and I decided to post it here today:

21 Reasons Why You Are Blessed!

1. If you own a Bible, you are abundantly blessed – about 1/3 of the world does not have access to one.

2. If you wake up each morning with more health than illness, you are blessed to rise and shine, to live and to serve in a new day.

3. If you have anyone on the planet, just one person that loves you and listens to you; count this a blessing.

4. If you can freely attend a church meeting without fear, then you are more blessed than over 1/3 of the world.

5. If you have a yearning in your heart to parent a child, you are blessed because you still desire what you cannot see.

6. If you pray today or any day, you are blessed because you believe in God’s willingness to hear your prayer.

7. If you pray for someone else, you are blessed because you want to help others also.

8. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep; all at the same time; you are rich in this world.

9. If you have a brother or sister in Christ that will pray with you and for you, you benefit from a spiritual unity, bond, and agreement, which the gates of hell cannot stand against.

10. If you have any earthly family that even halfway loves you and support you, you are blessed beyond measure.

11. If you attend a church with a church family that offers you one word of encouragement, you are blessed with some form of fellowship.

12. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, or some spare change in a dish someplace you are among the world’s wealthy.

13. If you can go to bed each night, knowing that God loves you, you are blessed beyond measure.

14. If you try each day to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ for even a minute, you are blessed because you show a willingness to grow up in Him.

15. If you can read this message, you are more blessed than about 2/3 of the world.

16. If you have never had to endure the hardship and agony of battle, imprisonment, or torture, you are blessed in indescribable measure.

17. If you have a voice to sing His praises, a voice to witness God’s love, and a voice to share the gospel, you are blessed. About 1/3 of the world does not even know who the one true God is.

18. If you can hold someone’s hand, hug another person, touch someone on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer God’s healing touch.

19. If you can share a word of encouragement with someone else, and do it with His love in your heart, you are blessed because you have learned how to give.

20. If you have the conviction to stand fast upon His Word and His promises, no matter what, you are blessed because you are learning patience, endurance, and tenacity.

21. If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because most people can, but won’t.

It looks like another beautiful day today, and I hope you can all enjoy it.



Cinnamon Toast Crunch...

Eating cereal is usually not my favourite pastime, unless I dearly it. I bought cinnamon toast crunch yesterday, which normally I would not, but it was on sale. I LOVE this cereal, however much it can be called "cereal". I am sure there is no nutritious content whatsoever, but it just tastes so good.

I am planning on doing some more homework today. In the meantime, I am reading a good book by one of my favourite Christian authors Ted Dekker, called "Kiss". It is quite suspenseful and full of adventure.



Banks and Blisters...

I am so happy to have my roommate back. Caitlyn and I keep missing each other, whether I am at hoome and she is here, or whether she is at home, or I am here. It didn't matter. I don't think I have seen her for quite possibly a month. However, we have been reunited today and I was able to go to the mall and hang out with her and Kaitlyn. I went to the bank.

I have mother blisters on my feet. They really hurt. But that's ok. They remind me of the date I went on with Jake on Sunday night. WE dressed up fancy, him in his suit and me in my dress, and went out for dinner. I had to walk in my bare feet most of the way, but that's alright. We had in awesome time, which is the understatement of the year. I love dating him :D

I am listening to the noisy hum of the air conditioning, which defeats the purpose of my open window. I enjoy listening to the rain outside, and the gentle rustle of the wind through the leaves. An occassional crack of thunder will startle me, but I am safe inside, not having to go to work, and that's just fine with me.



Not the 300th post...

So yesterday I made the mistake of thinking it was the 300th post. However, upon checking my records of actual posts, I discovered that I had about 3 drafts somewhere in there, and they were only "pretend" postings. How disappointing. I am pretty sure by Monday or Tuesday I will have my 300th post. Then we can celebrate!

Work was, yet again, not very busy last night. I had fun afterwards, though, because I went to Starbucks and hung out with some of my friends. Today I am working and then going to Jake's brother's birthday party. It should be fun!

Enjoy the sun.
Take a walk.
Carpe diem.

Love, Ashleigh