I confess.  I just looked up confliction in the dictionary because I thought I made it up.  In my head it was going to be a mash up of conflict and conviction.  So. That is what it will be.

I haven't been blogging.  One more confession...I've been reading other people's blogs too much.  Now I've gotten all my knickers in a twist, thinking that mine isn't good enough. 

One of the things I wondered while having my brief pity party was if my blog has a point.  You know what I mean, right? There are some people who blog about food, others who blog about parenting, or gardening or whatever.  Some people are ridiculously witty.  Others are very technical.

Will the real Ashleigh please stand up?

Oh, she's standing.  Right where she'll always be.

This space will not be compromised because of other people and comparison, and yet I hope that over the years it will improve in and of itself. 

So, here are some things you can expect from my blog and, consequently, my writing:

1. I will probably be vulnerable.  In fact, some blogs might make you embarrassed for me.  Don't worry, sometimes it's ok to wear your heart on your sleeve.  I prefer my vulnerable side to the brick wall that some people are forced to scale on occasion (most notably my husband).  Trust me, in time you'll come to thank me for it.

2. I will always, ALWAYS write about food.  No matter where I go in this world, no matter what stage of life, I will keep you posted about any and every extraordinary culinary experience.

3. I will write about beautiful things.  Like sunsets, and glistening water in a glass, and Jesus' love for the world.

4. Not all of my blogs talk specifically about my Saviour, but you can be sure that my faith in Christ is where my worldview stems from.  It's kind of like the book of Esther, where God's name is not mentioned but you always know that it was Him who orchestrated all the fantastic events.

5. I will write about my husband, Jake...I kinda love him a lot!  Oh, and I'm sure I'll blog about any future children too(no, that was not an announcement!)  I will also write about the rest of my extended family, because they're pretty much the bomb.

6. I will write about things God is teaching me, which, right now, consist of more words than will fit this page.

7. I will write about my daily life.  This may or may not bore you.  Sorry, can't please everyone!

8. I will write about chocolate.  Yes, this is a separate number than the food category.  This was intentional.

9. I will write about some insecurities.  This is normal, and until Christ's return, we'll be feeling like the imperfect and insecure humans that we are.  Only in Christ will I find some semblance of peace in this area of life.

10. I will do my best to write in my real voice.  For those of you who are readers and writers, you know all about voices.  Not the ones that you might hear in your head (am I the only one?!), but the ones that we use to infer personality or tone within a piece of writing.  I know the exact moment that I stop using my personal, Ashleigh voice and start into a bloggy voice.  This 'bloggy' voice takes on tones from other blogs-the ones which I've deemed more notable and popular-I've read, and contains a certain amount of wit that I myself do not naturally possess.  I try to avoid this voice, which, surprisingly, even shows up in my personal journal on occasion. 

And that's my blog in a nutshell.  Enjoy, folks!



Goodness ...

And this is why I love pinterest so much... or maybe I actually found this one myself.  Whatever the case, this pudding is astoundingly amazing.  Would you believe it's made from avocado, dates, and cocoa powder?

Legit, folks. Make it and indulge in the silky texture that's sure to send you straight into chocolate heaven itself.

You're welcome... (because I know you're going to try it!)




I have an addiction...and it's called too many recipes, too little time.  I'm so eager to try out new ones that I can never perfect the ones I've done before.

If you have Pinterest, you'll know that there are many, many pictures and recipes being posted every single day.  I don't have time to go through those.  I just pin my own :)  You can call me the 'happy pinner'.  I like storing the pictures there.  It's convenient for me to go back to one place when I want to try making all those delicious things.

What's your addiction lately?



Speaking of Reflection...

3 years.  So much has changed since that fateful day that I went into the hospital after a scare with my heart.

Oh my heart. 

It's taken such a beating, been bruised, been shocked, been in love..yes, in love.

Some of you may not know this story.  It can never be told enough, and yet how many times do I forget that it ever happened?  I often touch the scar on my chest, above my heart, where an object so foreign yet now familiar rests, monitoring my every beat, ready at a moment's notice to shock the muscles back into life.

Saturday,April 4, 2009.

It was a day that started out at McDonald's for breakfast with my friend Ruth-Ann.  I still don't even remember it.  My memory is completely blocked out from the night before until the week after, therefore this is all what people have told me.

I went to work.  I was wearing my favourite outfit (which, I found out later, the paramedics had to cut off me, rendering me vulnerable and my clothes useless, never to be worn again.)  When I went unconscious, my frightened co-workers called EMS, and then my heart stopped.  Or maybe they called EMS after my heart stopped.  You can fill in the details.  Whatever the case is, my heart stopped.

And I'm alive. Praise God!

I was in the hospital for two weeks.  The first couple of days I was in a drug-induced coma, then when they woke me up I scared everyone with short-term memory loss.  Thankfully that didn't last.  I started to remember my visitors the following Friday, and, being more aware of my surroundings and lack of appropriate clothing, started to be more embarrassed whenever the nurses had to attach leads to do their numerous ECG's and tests.  Speaking of tests, I had 7 tests done, including drug infusions, MRI's, and angiograms, and they still don't know what happened. 

That's how I ended up with this ICD inside of me.  It's even more noticeable now that I've been losing weight.  But I thank God that there's technology that can save me.

I fell in love...

One of the biggest changes that came of this was that my love interest at the time finally decided to ask me out.  God showed him that there is no time like the present, especially when imminent death is in the equation.  He came to visit me in the hospital, and I couldn't breathe (because he was so awesome, not from lack of oxygen).  I held his hand, and gave him a comb. He thought I was still on drugs, or crazy (sometimes I think he still thinks that!), but now we're married, and we love each other so much.  I remember the first time he touched my scar.  It was so intimate, and such a reminder of how life can change, just like that.

I learned how to be dependent.

My parents came to see me every day.  They stayed in the Heritage residence so they could be closer.  My mom helped do my hair, and they held my hand during various procedures and tests.  They prayed for me unceassingly. 

Other people came too, praying, visiting, gifting me with sweet things to remind me that I was loved. 

Once I was released, people helped me move to my new apartment, lifting boxes, packing, reminding me that I couldn't do this on my own.  I was reliant on these people.  And it was hard, but such an important thing for me to learn. 

God didn't creat me to be Miss Independent, individualistic.  In the hospital, I had to wait for the nurses to help me get to the bathroom, take a shower, bring me my meals, take out the oxygen, move my bed to the lab. 

A hard lesson, but one that changed my life.

I give thanks for breath.

Yes, breath.  I have written a few blogs about this one, but I can't talk enough about it.  When I was hooked up to the oxygen (I hated the nose tubes, by the way), I would get disheartened every time I looked at the monitor.  77%, it would say.  I was only breathing on my own at 77%?!  It left me feeling vulnerable and scared that things would never go back to normal.  Even after I was released, I was winded after walking up a simple flight of steps. 

I went for a 30 minute run on Monday morning.  With my own breath.  And that felt good.  I feel so close to God when I run outside, which is probably why I'm so addicted.

God is incredible, and even bigger than anything we can imagine, and any struggle that we go through.  Even if the circumstances had been different, even if I had died, He still would have been good.  Because that would have been part of His perfect plan. 

May His name be glorified.

Over the years, people have told me the various ways that God touched them or changed them at this time three years ago.  These are a few of my reflections.  I would love to hear yours.



Anxiety and things...

be anxious for nothing, HE says.

My heart is constantly balking.  By Sunday I will have worked 58 hours this week.  There are only so many hours in the day to get things done. My mind is swirling, never settling on one stray thought before flitting to another, trying to remember who to call, which bill to pay, or finding a time to vacuum my kitchen (which I so thoughtfully dusted with coffee grinds before I flew out the door this afternoon).

be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, HE says.

I need this reminder so much.  I'm so busy thinking about the things that I have to do, that I don't spend time reflecting and thanking Jesus for the things He's done in my life.  There are many things to reflect on: my relationship with God, Christ's return, my relationship with Jake, marriage, and the list goes on.  I often find myself telling Jake that I wish I had an answer for people when they ask me reflective questions such as: What has God taught you in marriage? What things are you learning?  Those questions, however, give me a reason to stop and ponder. 

Prayer is also something that I've been struggling with.  We're so quick to try sorting out our problems by ourselves, aren't we?  Just wait until the end of that verse:

be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus...phil 4:6,7

Peace? What is this? My heart has been so unfamiliar with this word lately.  But His Word says it right there: His peace will guard my heart and mind.  First I have to give my cares to Him...all of them.



In the Meantime...

This is an interesting period of time for Jake and I.  We've been blessed in our marriage because we've never had to deal with long periods without seeing each other.  Even when Jake was working continental midnight shifts at his other factory job, we spent lots of time together.

Now, my new job is creating a chasm between us during the week, so that once Friday rolls around, we're excited to spend 8 hours together before I head off to work again. 

I've stopped taking our moments for granted, and I've been trying to be 'there' mentally.  My mind is so distracted by things I haven't and have yet to do.  Yet, when I'm with him, I have to stop and thank God for giving me such a wonderful and godly husband. 

Here's to you, babe, for being the most amazing man I know.  You're my best friend, and I love doing life with you!