Before the Cross...

Because sometimes just having my Bible on my lap, open, reassures me of God's unchanging love.

Sometimes I don't have to read the Words to know what the Spirit is saying- I need only reflect on His sacrifice, and know that He is God-incarnate.  But oh, how the words written in this ancient book are so very relevant and desperately needed for my heavy heart of present.  

Turning to Christ when loneliness and disappointment threaten to out-shadow the amazing wonder of the cross, when flickering doubts and haunting guilt curdle my insides.

I cannot ignore the call of His Words.  Having this Book open, un-read, is a reassuring physical weight, yes, but it is meant to be ingested, meditated on, tasted until I can see His goodness all around, until the spirit of the Lord fills my heart, the heaviness, now from love and fervor, is pulling me out of my pit into the sunshine once more- the sunshine that is truly His face, radiating living beams of glory, for HE IS RISEN-

All glory and honour be unto Him.
 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.     ~Philippians 2:5-11 



Groceries on $50: Part 2...

Well, it's taken me all day to get here for one reason.  It's a good one, I promise.  I couldn't figure out what tonight's dinner was going to be, and I couldn't very well have a day without a menu, could I?

This week's grocery shop, with all my preemptive doubts, turned out to be only $.10 more expensive than last week, leaving me with a grand total of $48.36.

Even I'm surprised, since two of my ingredients sent me over to The Bulk Barn, and we all know what happens when we shop there...things tend to get a little out of hand :)

Signature Fonts
Tuesday- Egg Omelettes and Oven-roasted potatoes
Friday-African peanut soup with Homemade Bread
Sunday- Easter Dinner 
Monday- Homemade Whole wheat buns, for 2nd Easter dinner

Freezer- Veggie lasagna

You might have noticed that the veggie lasagna recipe is the same one as last week's for our Sunday meal.  That's because I didn't make it! I still had all the ingredients, so I decided to tuck it away in the freezer for another time.

Grocery List:
  • Tuna
  • Canned water chestnuts
  • Can diced tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Red pepper
  • Coconut milk
  • Broccoli
  • Green onion
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Chicken breast
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Walnut pieces (BB)
  • Whole wheat pastry flour (BB)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Whole wheat spaghetti
  • Greek yogurt
  • Crunchy peanut butter
I've been noticing that, no matter what recipes I have planned for the week, the majority of the items will be on sale.  I only have God to thank for that!  Next week, however, I'm going to try to plan meals by looking in the flyers first, to see if I can save even more money!


(BB)=Bulk Barn


Groceries on $50: Part 1...

I suppose you can call my evening a success.  I spent $51.26.
My only consolation is knowing that I also bought a non-food item, which brought my bill up by $2.99, so technically I only spent $48.27.  I will leave it to you to decide whether I accomplished my goal or not!  Here is my meal plan for the week.  I've added links to recipes found online, while others will be ones I have at home.  If you would like one of the non-linked recipes, just ask!

Signature Fonts

Tuesday- Ethiopian Cabbage dish with roasted chicken, tossed salad on the side
Wednesday- Brown rice and lentil burgers , no buns
Thursday-Meatless Chili
Friday- Ribs and potatoes, tossed salad and mixed veggies on the side
Saturday- Niagara Falls*
Sunday- Veggie lasagna
Monday- Spanish Omelette, Company's Coming The Potato Book

*Most weeks I will only include 6 meals since Jake and I have date nights or if we have outings, like this week.  If you need inspiration for Saturday's meal, I would recommend leftovers.

I chose many of these meals based on things I need to finish up, like cabbage and rice, and also things that I have in stock, such as ribs and kidney beans.  Your grocery list may look a little different than mine, based on what you have on hand.  
  • cottage cheese
  • eggs
  • frozen spinach
  • canned crushed tomatoes x2
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • onions
  • bananas
  • bagged loose leaf spinach (great for smoothies!)
  • zucchini
  • potatoes
  • apples
  • red onion
  • unsweetened coconut
  • garlic
  • red pepper
  • tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • unsweetened almond milk (also great for smoothies!)
  • coconut oil
  • Enjoy Life! semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • lettuce
The hardest part about grocery shopping is when your husband forgets to tell you he needed cereal, to which I say, "Let's make granola!"

Happy cooking!



Groceries on $50: Introduction...

Since going over our income, Jake and I have lowered our grocery budget to $50 per week, for now.  I'm thinking this is going to be an exciting challenge for me, so I've decided to start a blog series entitled Groceries on $50.  I'm going to do it for a month to keep myself in check and on target.  

I will continue doing my weekly meal plans, while using more of what I already have in my cupboards and supplementing with weekly groceries. I'm going to aim for four meatless meals a week, using lentils, beans and other protein sources to substitute.  Also, I will try to write a blog every Tuesday to keep you updated on how the previous night's shopping went, as well as to post my meal plan for the week.

Let's crush this!

Love, Ashleigh


Good morning, fellow blogger friends!  What a beautiful and sunny day it seems to be from what light shines through my window, and yet my weather network app is telling me it's still cold.

I'm sitting here with my coffee, reveling in the wonder that is amazingly fast internet, listening to the kidney beans cooking in my pressure cooker, and waiting for these muffins to bake.  I've been thinking about my new job all weekend, wondering what it will be like, if I'll be stressed, if I'll get to know my students well, and if I will enjoy it.

We had been using the building's wireless, but my new employer required that we have stable internet with my computer connected directly to the modem.  Within a day Rogers was installing internet, and Jake and I have been living in bliss, having forgotten what it was like to have such speed.

This will be one of the most interesting jobs I've ever done.  Since I am working online, I get to work from home, which is a real bonus.  No bus fees, no packing lunches, it's all here.  The catch is that I will be working on Korean time, since I'll be teaching Korean students in real time.  This means that my week starts on Sunday night at 5pm, which is their Monday morning, and ends on Friday at 11am, their Friday evening.  My hours will be split shift, so I'll be working Sunday to Thursdays from 5am-8pm, and Monday to Fridays from 5am-11am.  Yep, that's early for this 7am riser, but I am up for the challenge-and maybe a little payback now that I'll be getting up even earlier than Jake, who sets his vexing alarm regularly for 5:05AM!

I'm feeling at rest again, that stress bubble that had been building around my heart is slowly easing.  I'm thankful for God's mercy in providing this job at just the right time.

Enjoy the quiet of this peaceful morning!



A Job Story...

I don't know how many times I've had to remind myself of all the good things God has done for me in the past when I get discouraged about my present.  It's frustrating that the nature of our humanity is so weak and forgetful.  The past two and a half months were very bleak for me, and job hunting became another boring and unfruitful task in the mundane of my every day.  I kept looking, seeing the same jobs, taking up people on leads, being disappointed by those very people when the leads fizzled out.  It became very clear to me that Jake leans on me more heavily than I might realize, and his frustration at my unhappiness and the lack of extra income was taking a toll on our relationship.

I asked God, "What are You waiting for? I struggle with patience, yes, so this is good practice, but Lord, our bills are racking up, we're scraping by, I'm able-bodied, just give me a job!"

We waited. and waited. and Jake prayed for me every single day.  Without fail.  Through his disappointment and frustration I saw a trust and a resolve to not go down on my sinking emotional ship.  I barely prayed about it, because I didn't want to rock the boat.

I hated the, "Well, what do you want to do?" questions from well-meaning individuals-after a while, it seems like anything would suffice, and how can I be choosy?  I hated the guilt that I felt if I didn't look for jobs every day, or when I took a resume in too late.

I thought about how, even in Brazil, where sometimes I felt useless, there was more of a point to living than this walking through the house-no energy-making food-eating food-letting things pile up-going to bed-waking up-job search-do the same all over routine.

I kept thinking about another friend of mine who, upon losing her job a year ago, remained prayerful and trusting that God would provide in His time, and whose faith was a huge example to me.   Then God provided a job for her, a YEAR later, and yet that's how long God wanted her to keep learning how to trust.

Last Wednesday, Jake and I were talking, I was in the doldrums again, and all of a sudden he said, "Hey, why don't you post an ad on Kijiji about teaching ESL?"  I thought, no, I can't do that, I mean, I'm certified, but I haven't even finished my practicum yet, and how is this going to work, and ohmygoshI'mterrified.

But I did it.  I made an advertisement and Jake and I took to our knees at our praying couch and we asked God to use the ad for His glory, and again asked God to provide for our needs.

The next morning, I found an email waiting for me from a ESL teacher, asking if I was interested in teaching for the online ESL company that she works for.  She manages about 10-12 teachers for this company, online, and when we chatted she said she NEVER looks for teachers.  But she was desperate.  And somehow, through all the qualified people out there and online, God led her to me.  My 'phone interview' was more like an are you interested and please say yes because I'm in need of teachers plea, and me in complete agreeance with the desperation of the situation.

And I was hired.  Just like that.  In one day, with no references, with no background check, just complete trust on both of our parts that it would work out.

And God provided.  Just like that.  In one day, after all the days of waiting, with no warning, with no ceremony, just a small Kijiji ad and faith from my loving husband.

Isn't He good?




In the Kitchen

On my Night table 
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy- This one has been a bear for me.  I've been enjoying it, but I'm only about 60% of the way through and I started it on January 1st!
Call the Midwife, Jennifer Worth
The World is Moving Around Me: A Memoir of the Haiti Earthquake, Danny
All Things New, Lynn Austin

Through my speakers
Radio: Z 103.5, 91.5 The Beat, 105.3 Cool FM, Magic 106.1
My dad's interview on Faith.FM (Interview with Kevin Winder)
I could be the one, Avicii ft. Nicky Romero
Stay, Rihanna

Search Engine History
 Indeed-looking for jobs

Readings in my Bible
2 Samuel
1 Kings- loving these stories about Elijah and King Ahab
Psalm 1, 119:41-48

Elliptical- I had to take a break from the treadmill during my cold
Trail walks with Jake
TV Shows: Community, Pretty Little Liars, Bones


On Giving...

My youngest sister, Vanessa, gave Jake and I a World Vision World of Change Giving Card for Christmas, with $30 to choose a gift for someone who is in need.  Until today, I hadn't done anything with it, so I decided to peruse the World Vision site to see what we could give for that amount.  For only $30 each, here are some things we can give:

  • 3 warm blankets
  • 5 fruit trees
  • Literacy for children
  • Feed a hungry family in Canada
The fruit trees have come to life for me, since, in Brazil, they're everywhere.  Imagine how much of an impact that could have on, not only a family, but a small village!  Some of those trees get so big!

I am very passionate about literacy, so that one and the warm blankets seem to be a very logical and practical choice.

That last one was a bit of a shock.  If you're like me, the tendency is to think about third world countries, and their need.  I often forget that there are other Canadians, like me in nationality, who are also suffering in poverty, homelessness, and hunger.  It brought tears to my eyes thinking of how people next door, my very own neighbours, could be trying to make ends meet and not have enough left over to feed their own families.  

I am grateful for the breakfast clubs and other programs that exist in our cities, which make an attempt at helping children get the nutrition they need in order to provide a conducive attitude for learning.  

In some ways I feel so powerless to do anything.  In fact, I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how to finish off this post. I have heard some people crack jokes at the whole process of not-for-profits like World Vision, and all the does-it-do-any-good and who-is-actually-going-to-receive-it excuses.  Yet, if I can help in this small way, I hope that it will make a difference to someone.  As a Christian, I have a responsibility to be a good steward with my money (in this case, my sister's money!).  I hope that God will be honoured in this process of gift-giving, and that my eyes will be ever open to the need around me, even in Canada.