Birthdays and Baptisms...

Jake and I went up to visit my family this weekend.  Somewhere in the melee of visiting, I caught a nasty cough, but it is only a small price to pay for priceless quality time.  I made waffles for Nana and Poppa on Saturday morning, and then finally got Jake to watch Showboat* with my Oma on Sunday afternoon.  That day was full of parties, since one of my cousins was baptized, and it was my Dad's 48th birthday.  We saw a lot of people and ate some delicious food (including an apple crisp my aunt had made, which substituted nutmeg for the cinnamon.  It was a delicious crumble!)

We hung out at my sister and brother-in-law's house on Saturday to have a party for Dad, which included Chinese take-out.  My nephew was adorable, not to mention a little bit cheeky, too! There was a riveting game of What?, and laughs were inevitable as we all tried to guess who would have written each silly answer.

I'm so grateful to have a wonderful and loving family.


*Mel and I always loved this movie growing up, and always attribute it to Oma and Grandpa's house.  It wouldn't have felt right watching it anywhere else.  


Comforty Things...

What's better than a warm, savoury fish chowder accompanied by a thick piece of homemade whole wheat bread smothered in butter?


Even if you don't believe me, it must be true, because both Jake and I answered our standard nightly question of "What was the best part of your day?" with "Fish chowder and bread".  We almost fought over who was going to get the leftover bowl today.

I won :)

I often sigh at how much time I spend preparing food every day, but then I make most things from scratch, and nutritious foodstuffs take time and energy.

It's the comforty things like a good fish chowder that make being healthy worth it.



This Is Me...

This is a survey taken from my friend Krystle's blog.

Age: 26
Bed Size: Queen
Chore I Hate: Doing laundry
Dogs: None
Essential to start my day: Breakfast and checking my emails
Favourite Color: Purple
Gold or Silver: Silver
Height: 5' 8"
Instrument I play: Piano, Guitar, French Horn (If I had one T-T)
Job Title: Housewife (and trust me, I am desperate...for a job!)
Kids: None, but a cute little nephew :) does that count?
Live: A 1 bedroom apartment above a restaurant in the downtown. Does that sound sketchy or what?
Mother’s Name: Andrea
Nicknames: Ash, Ashy, Avi, Asher, Sis
Overnight hospital stays: 2, that I can remember. 
Pet Peeves: Loud breathing, loud ticking clocks
Quote from a favourite movie: There are too many..."Where is that from?" "MY BRAIN!!" ~Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Right or Left Handed: Right
Siblings: Melissa, Graham, Vanessa, Karl
Time it takes me to get ready: Short version: 10 minutes, 5 in a pinch   Long version: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Ultimate Vacation: Italy, Greece, somewhere in the Mediterranean
Vegetable I hate: None. I'm in love with vegetables.  That's a lie. I really don't hate celery, just strongly dislike it without a good dollop of peanut butter on top!
What makes me run late: Usually it's that one little thing...or making poor decisions while getting ready, such as "Oh ya, I've got lots of time to straighten my hair!" NOT!
X-rays I’ve had: Lots for chiropractic purposes, a couple for bronchial reasons, many for dental 
Yummy food that I make: Well. Jake always teases me because I never seem to make the same thing twice, since I love variety.  However, he tells me I make good banana muffins.   I also make delicious chicken parmigiana and guacamole.
Zoo animal: Snake



Yesterday I had the chance to run a 5K race in Burlington, ON, in celebration of Valentine's Day.  When I signed up for the race over a month ago, I asked Jake if he would like to race with me, since there was the option of running as a single or couples.  He declined, so I signed up as a 'married single'.

This was my first race ever, and I had no idea what to expect.  Jake and I left around 7:45am so we could be there for registration at 8:30.  The morning was absolutely beautiful!

I was happy to see the sun, and was praying that it would get a little warmer when the race started.

When we got to the venue, I felt like such an amateur, and I saw all these people around me dressed in fancy running gear and sporting heart rate monitors and other gadgets.

I went to register, and was completely caught off guard with having to pin on a running number and a shoe chip (to track my time in the race).

We stashed everything in the car, and, since we had a bit of time left before the race, we headed off to a nearby McDonald's so that I could have my decaf coffee and try to calm my nerves a little bit.  I was in high spirits, eager to start and excited for what was to come!

We got back and I suited up, tied on my shoe chip, pinned on my running bib, and had a last drink of water. All of the runners were waiting in the front foyer of the health club, and all of a sudden people started moving outside to get in the queue and wait for the race to start.

Do you see me cueing up my music?
I'm pretty sure I smiled like this the whole run!
When the horn started, I had to wait a little bit for all the people running in front of me.  Also, since it was a Valentine's Day run, all the ones who entered as couples had to be attached together with a ribbon, which left enough room for them to run, but they had to work together to keep an even pace.

I was off, and as I ran, I looked for the people who were going just a little bit faster than me, so that I could push myself.  I really wanted to win in my age category, since the prize was dinner for two at a fancy Burlington restaurant. 

I had told Jake to wait inside, then come out around the 35-40 minute mark, since that was the time I estimated I would get to the finish line.

I can see the finish line!!
Well, I came through, pushing hard at the end, and ran through the finish line.  There was someone taking off our shoe chips, then a woman handed me a rose, and another lady put a heart-shaped medal around my neck!

Jake said he almost missed seeing me go through the finish line, but he heard the air horn and came outside, and then he saw me, and I could barely believe it when he said it was 28-ish minutes when I finished! True enough, I saw the final time sheets, and my chip time was 28:53!!! That is the fastest I've ever run a 5K, and I am so happy!

I didn't receive a prize, but as we sat eating pizza and listening to the awards being given out after, I realized that there are many many talented runners, including a woman in the 60-65 age category who ran it in 26 minutes!  That's what I want to be like! 

We couldn't have asked for a better day.  The sun was shining, everyone was pumped up and excited, and I'm hooked on races!



To-do Lists...

In theory, they're great.  They really are.  They help keep you focused, they let your brain relax a little bit, and they're handy.

I have tried going without them.  I have tried using them.  It's much better if I use them, since I'm the type who has so much going on in my head that I might forget to eat breakfast or something-which is highly unlikely.

Since I can't go without them, I now have a guilt complex, especially when I see the same three tasks carry over, day. after day. after stinkin' day.  Some people say it's better to start with the hardest tasks first, so that everything else seems easy.  But this procrastination-loving girl would rather waste a whole day doing something that's NOT on her list rather than rip off the proverbial hard-tasks Band-Aid.  I like to do the easy things, just to see my list get smaller.  Here is a sample of the easy tasks I like to give myself:

  • Do devos
  • Read book
  • Make bed
  • Eat breakfast
See what I mean? By 8AM I could already have four things scratched off my list, and I hardly had to do anything.  It really helps soothe that guilt.

Today, I completed one VERY important task, and I feel like partying.  I mean, is it enough to scratch a line through it, add a check mark, and say, "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya?"

Because, that baby has been hanging around my to-do list for a month or more, and it feels a little blase to just move on to the next task.

I feel so free...amazing.

Now, to finish those other two that have been there for the same amount of time...



Jesus Encounters...

**This is an excerpt taken from my journal on February 3

Yesterday I went to a seminary in Toronto with Dayna & Corrina- it was on building bridges with Muslims [in order] to share the Gospel.  I was very convicted, and my point of view was challenged.  Many of the reasons I had been nervous about sharing the Gospel to them, [rather, people in general], were explained away.  

1. For starters, remembering that we are merely ambassadors for Christ, and stepping back to let the Holy Spirit do His work was HUGE for me.  I, Ashleigh, am not the one who converts or changes hearts.  God is.  I can aid with understanding, giving resources, and alleviating fears of certain topics.  But I need to let Jesus do His work.  That knowledge was super freeing for me.  As a believer, I can merely talk about my Saviour, His qualities, and my beliefs, without worrying that I have to sway it [make it sound/look good] in a way that they will accept the Saviour.

2. Prayer: this is an essential part of reaching out to others and sharing the Gospel.  I mean, at this point, I don't even know many Muslims personally, but I do know [other friends who need to know Jesus].  But it's like this.  Without prayer, nothing gets done.  I need to be more consistent in prayer, where God will strengthen me. 

3. Ministry: This should be merely a tool you use to get to know people, but it shouldn't hinder you from sharing about Jesus and talking about faith.  I was convicted in this area, because I want to teach ESL, but I don't want to become so consumed with being the teacher that I forget to be the ambassador.

4. It's a lifestyle, not an event: Praise God for Fouad Masri, the speaker from Crescent Project. This was a much needed reminder for me, since sharing my faith becomes so daunting.  The closer I become to God, the more I know about Jesus, the more natural it should be to let His life pour out of me, so it won't seem unnatural to talk about it.