being content and putting God first

Small task that one would believe is simple.

Somehow in the mess of this beautiful life I have been given I have grown ungrateful of the blessings around me.  I waited years…YEARS for my amazing husband and a big family. And then suddenly, when it was God’s timing not my own, when I was finally content, my life changed.  The past year has been one of stretching, adjusting and blending.  I downsized out of one life and up-sized into another one.  And yet there are times where the old me tries her hand at living the new me’s life.

I have always thought of myself as a traditionalist.  I wife of noble character.  The women who wanted to wear the skirt in the family but not the pants.  You know, the homemade bread eater.  This fixer of all things and not just the cheerleader.  The one who knows it all and is the best.  The green giant, freaking the hulk of the underworld of my soul.  You have an idea of a budget, well let me tell you my way is the ONLY WAY ((giggles… insert poor husband hidden eye roll here)).  When God tells me that His answer is NO, control freak old me steps in.

And so I FREAK OUT.  Kind of loose grip of the reality of all of these blessings that are around me.  And I think how am I ever going to find the balance between the old me and the new me?  Well insert podcast here.  I listened to a sermon this morning on a podcast from a minister from South Africa and I was reminded of one very important thing.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.” 

Matthew 6:33

When I keep GOD first, when I seek Him, when I give HIM time with me, when I allow Him to stay the head in my heart, before even my most amazing husband; then all the other things fall into place.  Those little things like, time with our children, less TV, date night, the dishes, the dinners, the grocery shopping, the work outs.  When I put God first I’m not so easily swayed by the different trend food plans, silly exercise videos, self-help Christian style books.  When I put God first then everything will fall into place.  When Jesus Christ is Lord of my life then my emotions are not as easily frayed, my patience for my children will grow, my self-control to make time to go for that run will happen, and you know what even if it is bland PB&J sandwiches, if we are all together as a family does it even really matter?  When Christ is first the stress about the bills, the many many projects that never end, the balance of trying to do it all, will all amazingly fall into the proper place and perspective.  Because the one who is supposed to be FIRST will be in his proper place.

Why do I make the answer to all of my questions, my hurts, my doubts and fears so difficult, when HIS answers are so blissfully simple?  Maybe this time I’ll remember.  I asked God for a fresh vision for my life and this is what HE has shown me!

The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends

The original reason that I purchased this book was because of a wonderful recommendation from joyforney.org.  My personal experience has not been one of being overly consumed with the thought of food, or lack of balance. UNTIL  I married my sweetheart, who HAD to focus on this for his career.  Then I went in to a tiny bit of a tail spin about the amount of “FUN” food that I consume.  I would eat my normal little sweet treats and feel no guilt and then I began to feel guilty because my sweetheart struggled more with it than I did. My man has a man sized bite in life regarding food and fitness.  After reading this book I was encouraged to let this go, and to let the idea of needing a specific lifestyle of food go.  I love clean and healthy foods, especially the foods that we hunt and produce ourselves. It is an amazing feeling preparing a meal and knowing that it came from the work of our hands.  I also have relaxed in my fitness goals to something that is fun and relaxing to me.  And I am now taking a long break from running, I am okay with that.  I have switched it up to BARRE3 online, workouts can be done early in the morning.  This gives me evenings free to work in my garden, spend time with my family, drink yummy coffee or tea, work on our home, read and just live life!

The chapter regarding our thinking cycle is BEAUTIFUL and has helped me in areas of insecurities in my life, reminding me to focus my mind of God’s word than my worries.  If you are looking for a quick but solid book that truly can help you with the thought process of food this is a good book for you.  And I LOVE the 30-Day Thought Diet at the back of the book.

 

 

 

the beauty of a podcast

The reality of life is that we are all busy.  And to think that our ancestors of yester-year were not busy would be a vast misunderstanding.  To our social media time, they hand-wrote letters.  To our telephone chats in the car, they had face to face time in the open wagons heading to town.  To our many loads of laundry and folding because we have so much, they had little but had to bring the water up from the pond, boil it, and hand wash it and then line dry it and then iron it.  They truly had it good with all of the REAL face to face time, and reading, and simple beauty of quieter ways.  Truly are days are full of time wasters like television, the mindless zombies we can become.  But honestly my family spends a lot of time outside working with our hands.  We practice our hunting skills with our bows (which ashamedly I must admit has not happened for me since Christmas, my own fault).  We work on our massive garden, that has grown in size and multiplied into a secondary squash garden so I can annihilate the squash bugs without shame or horror of it getting on my snap peas.  We go for drives in the country, drink coffee and visit our family.  We go for hikes and play ball with our kids when we can.  And we work hard to attempt to keep up, not with the Jonses, but simply with the loving dust and dirt that follows us back into our house.

Because my life is so full and my time to sit and focus on a book has limited itself to a few luxurious moments a season, I fill my thirst for knowledge on health, nutrition, excercise and Bible teaching with PODCASTS.  Sometimes they are on Facebook pages that I follow, sometimes they are emailed to my inbox.  So when I have drive time on the way to a meeting…HELLO PODCASTS.

Here’s to a long road trip to a meeting coming up real soon.  I have about two weeks of podcasts to catch up on from Revive Our Hearts.  I’m looking forward to it! Now to remember to bring the charger to my phone and a cup of coffee. It will almost feel like a spa get-away!

If you have a favorite PODCAST you listen to, please share!

 

 

on the other side of my reading glasses

Oh how I remember a time when I could sit and read for hours.  My daughter would happily play dolls, school, store, kitchen or watch a movie. And in that moment I would either claim the front porch swing or my favorite chair. I would throw my legs up over the side of the arm and settle in for hours of delightful reading.  It wasn’t always so simple to do that when she was truly little.  But the early school years where something of true beauty and simply delightful for the then single momma.

Now flip the page.  A new chapter in my life began over a year ago.  There was a romance, there was a courtship, there was soul filling true love and an I do.  The best words I have ever said in my life, “yes!” and “I do…”

Needless to say one happily ever after and a blended family later I no longer of the luxury of sitting for hours with my legs over the arm of a sofa.  I wouldn’t trade this new chapter in my life for the world.

My list of books to read is shorter, I listen to more podcasts and Facebook videos as I drive to meetings for work, as I put my makeup on in the morning and as I pick weeds in my garden.  The first few paragraphs of this new life are over and I’m feeling happily settled in my new home, with my amazing hubby and my blended family. Oh and the cat that God dropped in my garden last year that we all have fallen in love with.  And now the stack of books has grown and there is just the tiniest window of time, laying next to my most amazing and handsome husband that I can pick up a book and read (because he is studying, thank you my sweet Jesus)!

Here is my list…

“Healing Oils of the Bible” by David Stewart PhD. 

 

“The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends” By Monica Swanson

“The Life Giving Home” By Sally & Sarah Clarkson

“Own Your Life” By Sally  Clarkson

This is my reading material for now, well these books along with my Bible.

dreams do come true

dreamscometrue

What does a girl say? Thank you God for your timing, thank you for your answers and thank you for a birthday proposal, for an amazing man down on not one knee but two. Thank you for an amazing Kansas night and for the fire side picnic under the stars down by the creek.  Thank you for giving me a man who truly is my best friend and lover all in one.

The boundary places of my life have fallen in lovely places. And now it is time to truly LIVE.

the note tacker

Image

That would be me… I love to learn, to read to take notes and then to research and prayerfully walk through information. Though it usually appears unconnected, so much of the time I am connecting the dots later. Usually I can see an idea or an issue that the Lord is giving me to research and then I can pass on that information to family and friends who might need it at a later time.

Example

My niece was having problems in school. The school automatically diagnosed her in need of testing for ADHD.

Classic “school” response to a child who is different from their normal mannequin students.

The conversation with my sister(in-law) was fairly easy to flow. After reading articles and books about health and gluten, I simply suggested a few amazing websites a good book or two and keeping a food journal.

Simple basic information that is filed away on rainy days from online communities and friends who have dealt with gluten issues and because I’ve listened and pondered things in my heart I’m able to help.

I’m a note taker, and a natural born encourager. Though some days people get tired of cheerleaders in their life, I’ve learned that with this comes the precious gift of praying for my family and friends and at times complete strangers.

A simple gift. Going BOLDLY into the throne room of God and praying on behalf of others.

Do you take time to take note of what is happening around you?

I don’t always, sometimes it is too much. But I often pray that the Lord would use me to say and do things that would bring HIM glory and not myself.

On this day of my photo, I was the family note taker. My 7-year-old daughter is writing and illustrating a book.

I stated that I would write down all the animals we saw at the zoo that day. I also included that we took a Mr Pibb, popcorn and fairy floss break 😉 I was notified by my daughter that it was not needed information! Ha!

My I be like Mary who stored up things and pondered them in her heart 😉

It must be important or God would not have mentioned it in his word.

wondering in the wasteland

To be accurate there have been beautiful moments of oasis in this wasteland that is well-traveled by myself and my family. There are heart struggles that have led some to tell me that I needed to call the “whambulance.” Cute right, only when you are growing weary for a long season of Winter in your life, this is just more salt in a very tired wound that seems like it will never heal. I want to write, and yet a journal is not enough or close enough to my tapping fingers most days.

The longing to be an at home mom rages on within my heart of hearts most days. Yet I believe that somewhere in there is a hole, that allows the sadness of daily leaving my daughter to sep out so that it doesn’t poison the rest of me. There are days that tears stream down my face, eyes to the computer screen, back to the rest of the office. Especially when there are many in the workforce who do not understand the importance of being a mother and the heart-strings that are attached to the needs of our children. Much like needing to race on the wings of the wind to pick up a your little one who has just thrown up at school. Anxious because you love your child and want to be there to help them and hold them right away, yet, being made fun of while trying to get your mixed up emotions straightened out enough to shut your office down for the day and leave.

Yes, the wasteland. In this land I have walked through my own divorce, paying for it both financially and physically as well as spiritually. It was hard, the reward of walking with the Lord through this time in my life is priceless. There is just no other way.

This land includes being a single momma, who by choice has decided to wait as patiently (and often with many words spoken boldly in the throne room of the Lord) for a Godly Boaz to come into not just my life, but my families lives as well.  This land has included the fight of cancer for both my mother and my father. Both with two surgeries and both with treatments as well as new medicines and the tweaking of said medicines.  Our land would not be complete without the loss of three special dogs, one very cranky mean cat, the bite of a rabid bat on top of my father’s head and treatment of said bite with prayers that the treatments would work. The stresses of all of these hills and valleys. Now include in this land the addition of my loving brothers rejection from his wife and her desire for a divorce, that of course she won the right to have.  Shall I tag on a few more items, Grandparents aging, and uncle who has needed medical assistance more than a few times, and family drama that goes along with all of that. My oldest brother being without work for more than six months at one point and a wife and three children to care for, then a job, then a new job and a relocation and now a sweet miracle (baby number four for them).

Weary is a state that I’m ready to move from. Winter is a season I’m long over. Waiting is a word that should be added to my name, instead of Ashley just call me Waiting. I’m Naomi’s best friend, though, I would have told her that Mara was not a good choice, because I’m not bitter and just don’t like that road at all. I’ve avoided that one in the wasteland, thanks to the hand of God moving at just the right moments to keep my life from wasting away.

The promise for our Lord Almighty, HE will make a way for us in the WASTELAND. The beauty is that I daily see evidence of this in my life.

Smiles

 

Isaiah 43:19

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

NIV version