Thursday, December 27, 2012

christmas, cousins, and college

Well, Christmas is over and gone and the new year is approaching quickly. Can you believe it?
I can't. For some reason, it really did not feel like Christmas to me, and I can't really put my finger on why. It began feeling more like Christmas when my cousins from VA came to visit, like they do every year. We all have changed so much and do not have as much in common anymore, but we still enjoy our time together. Yesterday we got a few inches of snow, so we took a nice long walk in it and sledded a bit. It made for some good memories. 

Unfortunately, the cousins leave tomorrow, then the new year will arrive, then I will move to IWU. I have so much to do before I transfer! I have to do laundry, pack, buy my textbooks, and all in a week. I leave next Friday. I am quite nervous about the move, but am excited as well. Change is always scary, but it doesn't mean that it is bad. Truly, I believe that this is a good change and it will improve my life academically, physically, and spiritually.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas eve surprise

Today I made a special Christmas eve lunch for my family. I saw both of the recipes on Pinterest and thought they looked cute and easy! It took me a little while to make everything, but the surprised look in my family's eyes when they sat down to the fancy, fun meal made it all worth it.

The pancake reindeer I made. The antlers are made out of bacon, and the eyes and nose out of chocolate chips.

 A yummy Christmas parfait I made. The recipe can be found here.

I am not much of a cook and do not enjoy working in the kitchen very much, but I really wanted to help Mom out and make a special surprise for the family. Surprises are so much fun aren't they? I almost think they are more fun to plan and create than they are receiving them........even though I like that too.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas eve!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

the confidence of Christ

 "The most beautiful women I've ever observed are those that have exchanged a self-focused life for a Christ-focused one. They are confident, but not in themselves. Instead of self-confidence, they radiate with Christ confidence."
~Leslie Ludy


Saturday, December 22, 2012

being a witness, gingerbread style

My sister and I went to a gingerbread house making party last night. Before I even arrived, I knew what I wanted to do, a nativity. I have made gingerbread houses before.....really good ones at that, but that's what everybody does ya know? I decided to do something different and to create the manger scene, which is the true reason for the season. Because it was different than the rest, it caught everyone's eye and I got many questions asked about it. Who knows? Out of all of the people there last night, maybe there were some who didn't know about Jesus who came as a baby so that He could become a sacrifice and die for our sins.

I just think that this song Welcome to Our World by Chris Rice is so meaningful.
It isn't just a song, it is a prayer.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

as long as it takes

"I'm tired, do I have to keep proving myself?
I'm weary and drawing from an empty well
I need You more than I ever have
So Jesus come and shatter my darkness somehow

I won't speak until You speak
I won't move until You move me
I won't sing, sing over me
I will wait as long as it takes

I'm restless for something significant
But I'm helpless cause I've done all I can
I want You more than I ever have
So Jesus come and hold me, I'm shaking right now

I won't speak until You speak
I won't move until You move me
I won't sing, sing over me
I will wait as long as it takes

You are the Comforter so comfort me
You're the Sustainer so be enough for me
You are my Father and Your love for me
Is where I find my rest

I won't speak until You speak
I won't move until You move me
I won't sing, sing over me
I will wait as long as it takes"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

be born in me

Have you ever thought about what it would have been like to be Mary? We all know the story, seen movies, watched pageants, and have read the account in the Bible more times than we could probably count. But have you ever actually taken a few moments, closed your eyes, and put yourself in Mary's shoes?
She was a simple, young, teenage girl who probably considered herself rather plain and normal. She had just found out, what she thought, was the biggest news of her life........that she was going to marry Joseph. She could have known Joseph her whole life, a few months, or not at all, but either way, she knew that Joseph was a good man and would take care of her no matter what. What came next, though, would test the "no matter what" to the extreme.
Imagine this: one day she is walking down the road to perhaps get some water from the well or maybe returning from working in the fields, when a strange voice calls out her name. She stops dead in her tracks and looks in every direction for the man that is calling her.........but he is not there. She slowly turns back around and prepares to run away when a bright light shines down from heaven. Automatically she collapses to the ground, face down, because she now knows that this voice is not a man's voice, but an angel's.
      "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
Mary knew that God was always with her, so that part she understood. But what about the 'O favored one' part? And why was and angel speaking to her, plain, simple, little Mary? As all these thoughts enter her head and the reality of what is happening sets in, she begins to shake uncontrollably. She really can't help it. Suddenly the angel, knowing how frightened Mary is, begins to deliver his message.
     "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."
Me? Found favor with God? Mary thinks, confused. What have I done to deserve His favor? I'm nothing special. How could a God so holy find favor on a lowly girl like me?
     "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." 
What!? Mary can't believe what she is hearing. It doesn't make sense! "How can this be since I am a virgin?"
     "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy- the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God."

Now.......time out. What would you have said if you were Mary?
  •, that all sounds so amazing but.....I just don't think I am cut out for that job. You might want to find someone else.
  • You see, this is kind of a bad time for all this to happen. I just got betrothed to this really nice man, and since we aren't married yet, me becoming pregnant would be kind of strange and I don't think he would like it very much.
  • I don't think I'm ready to have a baby just yet, let alone the Son of God! Can this wait a few years?
  • But what would people think of me? Being pregnant without being married! They will shun me, hate me, even kill me!
 Would you have given any of those excuses? Those were all very true for Mary. She was just a ordinary, young girl. She had a good reputation, but wasn't anything special. She had just been betrothed to a great man. And she knew, that if she became pregnant, that life as she knew it could crumble away. Her family could disown her,  her friends could shun her, and her husband to be could even stone her because, after all, who would believe that she became pregnant through the Holy Spirit and that she is carrying the Son of God? Even though those were all true, she gave no excuses and no 'ifs, ands, or buts'. She simply said,
     "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."
No argument. No reasoning. No excuses. Just submission. She knew what could happen. She knew the pain and tribulations that she could suffer. But she also knew that God had a plan, and that she was chosen to bear His son, the Son of God.
The story doesn't end there. The miraculous story of Jesus' birth continues in the book of Luke. If you haven't read the Christmas story yet this year, I recommend you do it. Don't just read it like you have read it a million times though, put yourself in Mary's shoes. Read it like you have never read it before. After reading the Christmas story, I recommend you watch the movie The Nativity. It really brings the birth of Jesus to life.
Mary's submission is amazing, the birth of Jesus is amazing, God's word is is time that we start treating it that way.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

it's christmas!

It is finally starting to feel like Christmas time. The temperature has dropped, it snowed a little yesterday, I am almost done with my finals, Christmas music is playing everywhere I go, and the house is all decorated.

I don't know about you, but I am so ready to start making Christmas treats, watching Christmas movies (I have already seen Elf.........which is my favorite), wrapping gifts, caroling, and attending all the Christmas parties coming up!

This Saturday is the first Christmas party of the holiday season, Sunday night is our church's Christmas music service, then Tuesday some girlfriends of mine are getting together and having a big sleepover at Clifty Inn. The sleepover is half birthday party for a friend and half good bye party for me. (I'm headed off to IWU in Jan!)

Sounds like next week is going to be full of holiday fun. What do you all have planned during this holiday season?

Monday, December 10, 2012

a Christ-centered friendship

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phil. 2:3-4)

     As I look at the world around me, I am constantly amazed at what the world calls a "friendship". Most friendships today are fickle, self-centered, fake, and emotional roller coasters. Many Christian friendships I know are unfortunately the same way. They are almost worse because they call their friendship "Godly" yet it is no different than the world; they are hypocrites. I believe that a majority of people today, Christian or not, do not understand what true friendship is. True friendship is modeled after Christ and putting the other person first.

     As the verse above indicates, we are to be selfless and focused on the interests of others. " is a daily disposition, a constant commitment to purposefully put the other person's needs above your own. When that is our attitude toward our friends, instead of thinking about what we can get out of the friendship, we begin to ask, 'How can I die to my own agenda for this friendship and be Jesus to her?'" Tell me, how many friendships do you see that revolve around THAT mindset? I must admit, I have never seen a friendship like that, not in my life, not in the life of anybody else. Sending little notes of encouragement her, paying for her coffee, surprising her with a memorable gift are all very nice things to do, but it goes beyond that.

     Friendships today are often not truly governed by Christ-like selflessness and because of this there is constantly misunderstanding, moodiness, emotional pain, and drama. Honestly, who really wants that? Yet we all seem to accept it like normalcy and do nothing differently. So, should we not show our feelings and emotions in our friendship? Should we keep it emotion free? Not at all. " of the sweetest aspects of a Christ-built friendship is having a shoulder to cry on and someone who will point you to Jesus in both sorrows and struggles." That is the key. Our friendships should not just consist of us running to each other with every single thing that has us upset, filling her ears with our complaints, giving worldly advice, and plotting what should be done about it. It is about us being a friend who points her to Jesus, both in the good times and the bad times.You know what that means though? We as individuals have to be controlled by and looking to Jesus, both in the good times and the bad times. "When two people are controlled and sustained by Christ individually, and then allow that to carry over into the friendship, the natural outflow is a relationship in which emotion, when it is present, only serves to edify and unify."

     We all get on each others nerves at some point. It is bound to happen, we are all human. There is really nothing we can do to stop it, but we can decide how to react to it. When your feelings are hurt by your closest friend, when she takes everything you say the wrong way, when she is selfish, what should your reaction be? Would you lash out and try to get even? Would you give her the silent treatment? Would you cry and put on a big show? Would you gossip about what she did to you? Or would you show her kindness, grace, love, and forgiveness? "The more God shows us our own lack, the more we realize that building a Christ-honoring friendship requires giving the other person as much grace for their mistakes as we want them to give us. (Col 3:12b-13a)" Our reactions as Christians should be totally opposite to how the world would react. We are to follow God's pattern of humbleness and forgiveness. Instead of focusing on your friend's shortcomings, you should really try to see what God is doing in their life, how God is working in their heart.

     How are your friendships? Are they Christ-honoring and Christ-centered? Are you being a Godly and selfless friend? If not, are you willing to be? Perhaps you are willing to be, but none of your friends are want to change. "If any of our close friendships are not pressing us on into a deeper spiritual life and shaping us into selfless, others-focused friends, it may be time for us to ask God what practical things we could do to change them so that He, and not the joy of a kindred spirit, is the prize." It is not going to be easy, but it will most definitely be worth it. It may not happen right away, but God will bless you for your perseverance and your want to change and be more like Him, even in your friendships.

"A friendship that purposefully makes Him the center and draws both people closer to Him will become a beautiful testimony of patient graciousness, humble servitude, and selfless love- spurring others on toward that same, single-hearted pursuit."

*All quotes are from the Set Apart Girl article "A Set Apart Friendship" by Tessa Hershberger and Amy Meyers in the Jan/Feb 12 edition.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

beautifully dignified

"The power of Christ upon a woman's life ought to make her different than any ordinary, emotion-driven woman around her.....A woman who comes to know Jesus Christ is given the opportunity to live out beautiful femininity in the fullness of what God intended it to be - radiant, rock solid, and reigned by the Spirit of God..... We may be women with a great capacity to feel, but when we look to our Father to be our rock and fortress, a shelter to whom we continually resort, the One who is mighty and victorious in and through us, we are also women with a great capacity to go throughout each day with steadfast joy, unwavering peace, and a gentle calm that truly makes us different - and yet beautifully dignified - women of the Almighty God."
~Tessa Thompson

Saturday, November 3, 2012

bigger than you will ever know

Sometimes I get upset that no one seems to care about what is going on in my life, what problems I'm facing, and what I need prayer for. But so what, big deal. That only causes me to think about me more.....which ends up making me more miserable and upset than before. Though it is extremely difficult, not our natural tendency, and no one else seems to do it, we need to constantly focus outwards.....on others. Everyone has a crazy life, everyone has problems, everyone needs prayer. I am not special..... but I should treat others in a way that makes them feel special. I want to be the type of person that I would want to meet. I want to be a someone who makes someone else look forward to tomorrow. Today will never come again; what kind of impact can one word of encouragement, one smile, one act of kindness make on a person? A big one. Bigger than you'll ever know.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hello all! I'm sorry I missed the last Wordless Wednesday. I was gone visiting Cedarville University all day.....and I mean ALL DAY. Was gone from 5:30am-10:00pm. Anyways, yesterday I got to do a bit of doodling. I tried a different style than what I normally do. If you visit my blog Live for Today Art, you can see some of my older drawings in my typical style. I really like this new style. It has a lot of expression and it looks Disney-ish. What do you all think? 
(I'm sorry for the bad quality, I took it with my phone)

Monday, October 29, 2012

it is well

When peace like a river attendeth my ways.
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Please read the story of Horatio Spafford, the man who wrote this wonderful hymn.
You will never listen to the song the same way again.

Friday, October 26, 2012

raking leaves can be fun



It was such a beautiful day yesterday that my sister and I decided to go rake leaves out at our grandparent's house. We got a lot done, but as you can see, we also got a bit distracted. ;)

Monday, October 15, 2012


Do you sometimes feel like you can't take anymore? That you can't handle anything else? That if life throws one more thing at you, you will totally collapse? That nothing seems to be working out and every single thing is going wrong? That nothing is going right and the world seems to be falling apart? That you aren't sure you can handle another day because you are so worn? Did you say yes to any of these questions? Yeah. Me too.

There are times in our lives when everything seems to change and take a wrong turn. One thing after another just piles on top of each other until we feel like, if one more thing happens, we are going to collapse. Health problems, tough classes, family issues, big decisions, strained friendships, various challenges, difficult situations, etc......and no one to listen. No one seems to care about what you are going through except yourself. Everyone seems to be caught up in their own life, problems, situations and relationships. Why would they listen to you? Sometimes it can get to the point where you say "what's the use?" and you stop expressing your feelings all together after one really cares.
People are fickle and friends will let you down, but after all, they are only human.

 So is there no hope? Is there no one who cares? No one who is willing to listen? False. There is One who will never let you down. Who will never give up on you. Who will never forsake and abandon you. Who cares and knows about what you are going through. Who will always be by your side. Who listens to you at any hours of the day and any hours of the night. Anytime you need to talk to Him, He is there to listen.

So yes, things may be tough right now. OK not tough........absolutely unbearable. Maybe you are dealing with a great loss, disappointment, temptation, doubt, worry, anxiety, stress, fear, discouragement, and perhaps so much more. People don't seem to care, your friends have abandoned you, it seems like you have no one left. There is only one thing to do. The one thing that you should have done from the very beginning. Take it to God. The Creator. The Heavenly Father. The Light of the World. The Prince of Peace. The Redeemer. Take it to the almighty, holy, all powerful, good, loving God who made all things, knows all things, and is in control of all things. What could be better? He wants to know you. Wants to hear from you, His child. He knows what you can handle and would never give you anything that you couldn't get through. We should never feel alone. We never are alone. God is with us always, and for that we should praise Him.

"When you praise God in the face of all your trials and tribulations, you open up the channels through which God's peace, love, and encouragement flow to you. That is the hidden power of praise."
The Prayer that Changes Everything by Stormie Omartian

"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 minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him."
Psalm 28:7

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation' but be of good cheer, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD."
John 16:33

Song list:
Steady My Heart by Kari Jobe
Worn by Tenth Avenue North
There is a Peace by Sojourn
Never Once by Matt Redman

in christ alone

  "No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no schemes if man could ever 
pluck me from your hands.
Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of 
Christ I stand."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

here i go again

Here I go again. Pushing my blog to the bottom of my priority list. I really need to stop doing that. Midterms are going on this week, so it has been really stressful lately. On the positive side, midterms means that I am half way done with the semester! I am sooo ready for the semester to be over!

On top of all the homework, I have also been researching and visiting some colleges. It turns out that I will be transferring in January instead of September. That is a big difference! So I am running around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to figure out what college I want to go to, filling out applications, and applying for scholarships. Let me tell ya, college is stressful! But I have grown so much since I started August of last year.

So yeah, that is my life right now. Anything big and exciting going on in yours? Tell me!

What I'm listening to: Mumford and Sons new album. So good!
What I'm eating: honey mustard pretzel pieces
What I'm watching: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
What I'm wearing: jeans, tee over a long sleeve shirt, and a mustard scarf.
What I'm drawing: nothing right now. :/ but I drew the picture up above!

Friday, October 5, 2012

friday fav

So I do believe that on Fridays I am going to do this thing called Friday Fav. What is Friday Fav you ask? Friday Fav is where I will post a short video or some pictures that have artistically inspired me that week. Yep. That's what I am going to do. So......without further adieu, I would like to present the very first Friday Fav. *applause applause*

                         (btw, i personally recommend watching all of the "simon's cat" videos. if you are a cat lover, you will find them hilarious.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

a look into emily's wardrobe

Hello there!
I'm Ashley's younger sister Emily! Believe it or not, I used to dress like a tomboy. But with a little help from my sis, I'm now able to put together some cute, modest and feminine outfits. I really like the saying "dressing modestly is an art form". So true! Even though it is more difficult to find appropriate things when going shopping and it does take a little longer to get dressed, piece by piece it is possible to have a trendy and modest wardrobe! Because I have a budget to keep, it's fun to get creative with each article of clothing too! Here are a few pics of some of my recent outfits I put together. Which one do you like best?
scarf: walmart 
sweater: forever 21 
jeans: walmart 
shirt: hand me down
skirt: unknown
shirt: yard sale
purse: shoe sensation
shoes: walmart
headband: forever 21
shirt: hand me down
scarf: yard sale
pants: walmart
shirt: wet seal
jeans: walmart
shoes: walmart
headband/scarf: yard sale
shirt: forever 21
 pants: walmart
headband: forever 21

Friday, September 28, 2012

need a laugh?

I have got the video just for you. Enjoy!

~The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.~