What if grass isn’t green?

I have positioned myself perfectly to be perplexed, as I often do.

At 21 years old, I am revisiting one of the most powerful lessons in my life, one that continues to circle back for me, as I haven’t seemed to fully learn from it: the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

Where did that saying come from? It’s hard to believe that a sentence so silly and seemingly childish continues to find me in my life. Continues to reveal that I am quick to decide I lack fulfillment where I am. 

Because of this, I struggle to know when I really should change my environment. It forces me to twirl around a few times and question if I have really tried to find happiness where I am. Am I grateful? Do I understand all that I have to be grateful for? How much am I overlooking? What am I blind to?

I wish I would have always twirled. Maybe then, I wouldn’t distrust myself the way that I do now. Maybe I would know with certainty when it is time to move on.

Because due to my quickness to need new grass, I went half way across the country to get it. Certain that there was no grass comparable to the grass that I once had.

What is it with grass? (Of course, I know that the grass is just a metaphor, but bare with me for a second.)

To me, I chased familiar grass. A grass I grew up with. A grass that left for the winter, but always came back in the spring. Maybe I thought for a moment that I was the grass. That I had left, but just had to go back. That I could only grow there.

I made a list, as I often do, of all of the reasons I needed to leave what I had. That made it even easier to disregard what I DID have. I couldn’t see what I had. At lease I didn’t try.

As soon as I could, I packed up my things and left for the only grass that would fulfill me. Pennsylvania.

Texas doesn’t really have grass you know? The constant warm weather tends to put a damper on grass growth. Typically, places in Texas are surrounded by artificial grass. And while I did miss the frequent smell of fresh cut grass, I understand now why people were okay with artificial grass. They had grasped (that felt like a pun) that real grass just wasn’t gonna grow there, and came up with an alternative solution that would allow them to have what they wanted without leaving where they were.

People make decisions like this everyday, about things as simple as grass, and yet, I gambled my whole life on being convinced that the grass was gonna be greener somewhere else.

I could say I feel stupid about this, but I do not. I am not gonna say I regret it either, because life is short, and regrets can consume forever.

Instead, I accept and appreciate that this lesson that I have repeated many times, but never to quite the scale that I did recently, has forced awareness. A gratitude. An ability to rationalize and compromise. Most importantly I have grown tremendously. I see the value in the time I spent in Texas. I have acknowledged the happiness that found me there. I miss it. I wish that I had held on tighter.

I flat out missed it while I was there. I didn’t see it. I didn’t look for value.

Today and everyday, may we acknowledge compromise is a thing. May we meet happiness right where we are. The phrase “life is short, so be happy” is wrong. It implies that you will only “be” happy if you do something to be happy.

Happiness is a choice. We are free to make choices in life, it can be a gift and it can take everything away. The power to choose is POWERFUL. Did you know you could choose happiness?

Choose it. Find where it really is for you. Do not miss it. Do not chase it. Acknowledge its presence. Find it where you are, or where you need to be. Do not stumble. Go boldly, or stay boldly.

Friends, I am finding & choosing my happy. I am still figuring out what it means and where I am supposed to be. But for now, here in the city of Philadelphia, I am acknowledging that grass doesn’t mean a thing. Heck, I left one grassless place for another, and guess what? Fulfillment didn’t suddenly find me in Pennsylvania.

There is power in compromise, acknowledgment, and most importantly, gratitude.

SO… Here we are. Here I am. There you are. Wherever you are, have you twirled around? Do you need a twirl? Have you tried to find happiness where you are? Are you grateful? Do you understand all that you have to be grateful for? How much are you overlooking? What are you blind to? And if you have met all of those questions and found that there is still something out there that cannot be brought to where you are, move. Boldly. And remember that regret only consumes you, so learn instead of regret. Because learning GROWS you. And that is far more useful than being consumed by something you cannot have. Isn’t that how we got to this in the first place?

Choose happiness. Acknowledge where it is.

Twirl.

Ashlyn

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to begin

If there is anything I have learned for certain in the last 21 years, it is that time truly does fly, whether you’re having fun or not.

And with knowing that can come HUGE responsibility. For me, suddenly laying on the couch all day is a bad thing?? That I feel bad about when I do it??

But on the other end, it has truly encouraged me to live life more fearlessly. It has helped me take back all those minutes I would normally spend on worrying or being indecisive.

So walking into 2019 has been so exciting! New Years crept up on me last year, I could hardly believe it was already time for another year. 2018 was filled with a lot of change for me, all changes that I chose, and some of them with very difficult outcomes.  I spent that last bit of 2018 breathing them in and letting this season of lessons I picked fill my lungs. It is important to be humble enough to see when something is completely our fault, but also so critical that we forgive ourselves for it. So 2019 is my year to exhale and so far 2019 has been a friend to me.

As some of you may know, I left the nest in 2018. I moved from Texas to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I never thought of myself as a “city girl” but I was certain I could play the part! And I never believed how difficult it was gonna be no matter how many times people prepared me. I spent parts of the last 5 months of 2018 figuring out how to not feel like a square shaped peg trying to shove myself into a triangle hole.

And something about 2019 has brought a peace to my heart about it. January 1st danced in with a breeze of confidence I lacked, and I knew I wanted that back. I am where I am, and this year has already shown me that I am the only person capable of making my situation a thriving one. I am not my environment, I am me. That is a CRITICAL thing to know in this city.

SO, I started to read the Bible, because if I am going to be happy wherever I am, it starts with being happy and at peace on the inside. I started in the very beginning, the story of the creation of the earth. I have read through it a few times, but there was something that caught me when I read it this time.

  • Genesis 1:14 -> And God said, ” Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years. 

God created the ways we track time. Maybe this seems silly, but I never associated the concept of time with God? I’ve always categorized it as being a man-made concept, yet, The Bible is filled with events/seasons and the days, weeks, or months they lasted. It was one of the first things God established! So for me, it has made 2019 seem extra different than any other. Because I truly believe that God has hand crafted my 2019 year. And yes I know He has crafted my other 21 years, but this is really my first time being conscious of it, and appreciating that makes this year feel significant. We spend so much time crafting lists of resolutions and proclaiming “this is my year”, but what if every year has been “my” year. What if it is because I hadn’t taken the time to truly understand God’s part in making that year, that other years haven’t felt like 2019? Maybe I’ve thought I laid down my years for God before, but really I can’t lay something down that He already has in His hands. He’s had His hands on 2019 way before I did. And with this being the year that I began to comprehend that for the first time, it makes sense why 2019 has felt like the quench to my thirst in life I have been looking for.

So basically so far in 2019, I have realized a concept that has been right in front of me. And maybe that seems silly to even write a blog about, but life seems to be full of truly realizing what’s in front of us. And knowing, really truly knowing and believing that God’s hand has crafted my 2019 year has to be the best encouragement to go into a year with possible. Because I know that no list I make could ever hold what I am capable of this year. In fact, I have no idea what this year holds, and for the first time, that is way more exciting than it is scary! And through every beautiful and every difficult part of this year, I am never alone. I have nothing to fear!

For the past few years, I have had a name for my year. A word that I could write upon my heart and carry with me through every high and low that year had for me. And 2019 is my “To Begin” year. I honestly am not sure what it means, and that is how I know it’s perfect.

SO here is to beginning this year. Let that mean whatever it is meant to for you and your life. Here is to being unafraid to begin. To cease wasting time worrying about time. God made time, God made you , God made 2019 and it has something beautiful in store for you.

3..2..1.. begin.

Love,

Ashlyn

rain in the city

For the last week or so, we have had nothing but rain here in Philadelphia and I have loved it.

I’m not sure if you are the type of person that has 3 pairs of rain boots like I am. Some more sophisticated simple ones for the occasions that require adult like attire, but my favorite ones are my yellow polkadot boots.

I have always admired rain. Its power to change things. Its ability to pause the world for just a moment. The indecisiveness of it. The combination of peaceful and chaotic it can be at once. Yes, I have loved rain. However, I love it even more now that I live in the city.

Because for me, rain sometimes is the only hint of nature I feel here. Yes there are the occasional sidewalk trees and watching their leaves begin to change colors is enriching. But rain happens everywhere. It is one of natures favorite ways to show itself. And it has made this concrete jungle (I cannot apologize for how often I may use this term, I LOVE IT) feel like any place I have ever called home.

It makes me feel connected to my family in Texas, cause they get rain too. Something about the fact that I finally feel like I share the same world as them makes me so happy. I don’t have a lake right down the road like they do, or a grass filled yard, or even flowers here and there. I don’t have much here that looks like what they have. But we have rain. Here and there. And I have loved appreciating this new connection to rain.

I have had our windows opened most every day that it has rained so we could experience it with all of our senses. I love the sound and smell of rain. They are my favorite ways to experience it. But recently, I have loved feeling rain almost as much. As mentioned earlier, I have several pairs of rain boots for puddle jumping (yes I am 20 and still savor those moments) and now two rain coats to sport as well. I have a bit of walking I do in my commute to work each day, and I have savored these rainy walks more than I could’ve expected. I love that during these times, me and all of the strangers around me share something in common. Whether it be the fact that we are all hiding from the rain by some means be it boots, umbrellas, or jackets. Or the fact that we cannot hide from it at all. We are all experiencing the rain. The rain is impacting our day in some sort of way, be it changing our plans or causing us to change in to something a little drier when we get to our final destination. It’s sometimes hard to realize how much we have in common with each other, and that is why I love the blatantness of rain. It opens my eyes to what I share with others.

Silly isn’t it? I partially must give credit to Gene Kelly for my adoration for rain. “Singing In The Rain” may have been a movie, but I believed his joy when he danced through out those city streets as it poured. If you haven’t seen that movie, I couldn’t possibly recommend it enough. I am taken to that scene so often has I take each step onto a new piece of concrete in the midst of rain.

I remember when I was little, I thought that when it rained, it meant God was crying. I thought rain was sad and that only gloominess came from it. Because what had we done to make God cry so much?

I realize now in adulthood that there are often more things that could make God cry then smile. If rain really was God crying, then it would rain always. I think if rain had anything to do with God’s emotions at all, I’d like to think that God is so good at focusing on the good in world, the possibility for things to better, the people who live to improve the lives of others, the joy that so many of us hold, that rain is his way of reminding us that growth is simple. Growth of flowers, of character, of circumstance. Change is as simple as rain. AND, rain is unpredictable. Life and circumstance are unpredictable. We cannot control it. We can only control what we do with it. Our potential for joy is in our hands.

As for me, I will find joy in a pair of polka dot boots, and cherish the rain that keeps me close to my family and makes my city feel a little less concrete. I will open my heart to the beauty of growth. I will treat each puddle like a trampoline. I will thank God for another reminder that He sees more in me than I ever could imagine. And I will remember that joy falls upon me like rain. I wanna sing in the rain!

What do you do in the rain?

Let it rain Lord. Let it rain.

Love,
Ashlyn

reset

Hello!!!

I have been thinking about the day I would break my blog silence. Thought about how cool it needed to be to make up for the YEAR AND A HALF that I have been MIA. But then I remembered that I am known and loved by people who don’t require me to apologize for being human and getting caught up in the busyness of life!

My heart has missed this outlet though. Life is big and confusing and sometimes I feel like the only way I truly comprehend it is to write it out and read back through it.

I wanna take a moment to document where I am today. I love looking through old blogs and remembering and cherishing where I was, and being mystified by where it has lead me to now.

I am in a season of change again, I just moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this month. There was something riveting about making the decision to do this. This was my first real out of my comfort zone decision that I made for myself, and somedays I still think I am crazy for having done it.

I am loving this season for every bitter and/or sweet piece. I miss my family. I miss my old job. I am happy to be close to my best friends. I am challenged by my new job. I am sometimes challenged by living in a city and relying only on public transportation. I love this city. I love the mix of old and new history here. I love how refreshing trees are when you come upon them, and how breathtaking the cityscape looks in the day and especially in the night. I love the mystery of walking amongst so many people who have no idea who you are.  I love the friendly strangers on the train that I sometimes chat the whole ride away with.

I feel like this city and this season of my life are dripping with opportunity. I am praying that I bravely dive into it all. That I am more inclined to say yes to opportunity. To explore openheartedly. That I would learn constantly and share willingly. That I would maintain a humble spirit and that I would thank God for it all. For safety and for believing in me even when I don’t. And to know fear no longer.

I also want to thank every person who has shaped me into who I am, who has believed in me, prayed for me, encouraged me, challenged me, inspired me, and who have called me their friend. It is because of people like you that I am brave. That I stay true to myself and am unafraid to try new things. My perspective is in the open and hungry for innovation state that it is because of world changers I have known and loved in my life. I wouldn’t be here whiteout you.

You all know who you are. I love you with all that I have.

And for anyone reading this, I pray that joy would fall upon you through out this beautiful Thursday and everyday. I pray that kindness would meet you at every corner and that patience would overflow out of you. I pray for guidance and peace over any uncertainty you are facing. And for an abundance of strength that you would carry with you wherever you go. You are loved more than you can imagine.

That is all for now my loves. I am alive LITERALLY, but also in so many other ways and senses. I’ll be back soon!

Ashlyn

 

Change

Hello my lovely friends and family, it is I, the elusive Ashlyn Miller returning from her blogging disappearance, yet again. I wish I had a better excuse than the one I do, which is my mixed combination of laziness and writers block.

I have decided to write about one of the most written about yet misunderstood concepts in the world: change.

What is change?

CHANGE:
Verb
1. make or become different.
2. take or use another instead of.
Noun
1the act or instance of making or becoming different.
2. coins as opposed to paper currency.

I wanna take a moment to break down each of these definitions…

MAKE OR BECOME DIFFERENT

When I read this, I think of an artist with clay in their hands, shaping and shifting this work of art upon their skin. Constantly finding something they can twist a little more or thin out a little bit. Adding colors and personality. Making it whatever they want it to be, and no matter what, it is beautiful. Because they made it, and a part of them is in this creation of theirs. We call this act beautiful, yet when it is happening to us, we call it scary, painful, not what we wanted. Add God into this picture. An artist shaping and shifting his creation, adding colors and personality. Intwining purpose with beauty. He calls this act beautiful, and we call it scary, painful, and not what we wanted. I wonder how many beautiful pieces of art God has made for us that we refused. I wonder how many opportunities God painted for me that I missed. God thrives on making us become different in beautiful ways. We were not made to ever be content with who we are or where we are at, because there is always more. Always more smiles, more laughter, more freedom, more opportunity, more dreams… We are a work of art, constantly being added to. And sometimes, we have to change in order to achieve those things. I would never have been sitting in this adorable cafe in Fort Worth, Texas that I have grown to adore if I hadn’t moved here. I wouldn’t have started working with an amazing group of human beings at Apple that inspire me everyday to be the best version of myself I can possibly be.  I wouldn’t have started going to Gateway and changing my relationship with God. If I hadn’t made my life different, if I hadn’t changed my location, I wouldn’t be me. I dreaded moving here, I made myself miserable here for months. I refused to see how beautiful some of the changes around me were. There are many days where I look back at those weeks of my refusal that I wish I could take back. I wish I could’ve let go of my “comfort” in things I had known, to be brave and jump into the unknown. Because once I did, I saw how beautiful change is. I saw God’s purpose begin to unfold, and even though I am no where near done with this season of change, it isn’t so scary anymore.  I want to stop being afraid of change, I want to stretch out and let God mold my life into a new piece of art every single day, that I would never call change ugly again.

TAKE OR USE INSTEAD OF ANOTHER

With the word change, comes opportunity, as in we have an opportunity to embrace change. When we are faced with change, we have the opportunity to run in fear and stay where we are, or dance in the wind of change and grow. It blows my mind how easily we stay where we are. We feel like we have the best view possible from the step we are standing on instead of taking in a huge breath of fresh air and jumping to the next one! We have the opportunity to TAKE the opportunities, instead of staying in our current one. New opportunities come for a reason, and even though they sometimes cause us to stretch and grow, it is so we can see an even higher and more beautiful view. This concept of seeing a bigger brighter view inspires me to grow closer to Jesus, as he has the most beautiful view of us all. Even Jesus has opportunities. With all of the evil that goes through the world everyday, Jesus chooses every morning and every night to continue to believe. To believe that we will all be beautiful tomorrow, and that light will reign again. If God can look at the earth and still believe it can be beautiful, that earth can still draw heaven near, how could I not believe that in my life. I want to stop being afraid of change, I want to jump out of the shade and into the sunlight, letting God grow and flourish my life, even and ESPECIALLY when I don’t understand what he is doing.

THE ACT OR INSTANCE OF MAKING OR BECOMING DIFFERENT

One of my favorite things to do in life is to try new foods. I love trying different cultures’ foods and savoring all of the different flavors that come with each. I have a firm policy of trying everything at least once when it comes to food, and I laugh at myself often for not embracing that concept in more areas of my life. At the beginning of this year, I decided to name this year my “fearless” year, my attempt to flood this desire of trying everything at least once, this desire of embracing different experiences and goals and challenges, into every corner of my life. I think one of my failures in accomplishing this goal is that I expect change to occur in an instance, when really change cannot be limited. It has never been sent with a specific time amount, for if it was, we might miss out on the full capacity of that season’s growth, and I don’t want to miss out anymore. SO that being said, I am through with limiting my instances of change to an instance. I want my whole life to be an open act of change, that by being so free and open to change, others around me might cease being afraid of change themselves. I want to stop being afraid of different, I want to grow with every twist and turn instead of choosing to remain, iwant to paint my life  different, letting God use me as a beacon of light to those who fear the unknown, that I would never fear the unknown again, and never limit the amount of change, or the amount of time it takes for my changes to occur. NO MORE LIMITS.

COINS AS OPPOSED TO PAPER CURRENCY

This one may be my very favorite today as I realized something super important. Physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual change, is SO MUCH LIKE LITERAL CHANGE. I am talking pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters… Change, no matter the size of the amount, is WORTH SOMETHING. Even a penny is worth something! CHANGE IN OUR LIVES IS THE SAME WAY. Change happens for a reason because it is WORTH SOMETHING. And without change, we could not attain certain things in our lives!!! Change is something we work for and use daily, and CHANGE ADDS UP. I have never been very good at collecting change in a big jar like you see in the movies, but I want this year to be the year that I proudly put out my change jar in my heart and watch it fill up. That I would use my change to experience beautiful experiences and adventures. I want to open my eyes to the vast and grand worth of change, letting God fill me to the brim with it, that I would learn great things, and us those great things to be a great thing. That I would count my change as lucky and worth saving up and keeping, no matter how big or small. NO MORE LIMITS.

My friends, change can make us beautiful. Change can be a beautiful opportunity worth taking. Change can be a beautiful instance, or a beautiful while. Change can be worth something, IF we see, take, believe, and receive it as such. WE ARE DONE BEING AFRAID. It is time to dance in the rain of change and flourish!!! We all have it in us!! God  made us to be forever changing, forever taking that next step and seeing that next view, and we are done being afraid because God did not make us to be afraid.

So as for me, and I pray for all of you, let’s change.

God I pray for my heart, and for the heart of everyone on this earth, that change would come. That beauty would reign again and that we would grow more and more in you every single day. That we would all stretch up to the sky and continue to grow closer and closer to you every single day. That we would see more and more the beauty that you see and never fear taking a step higher every again. May this be the year where our hearts cry out for change and walk out every step you have of us. God thank you for you unending patience and grace, my we extend those same gifts to ourselves and those around us. No more fear, in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

Let’s do this.

Time to grow.

Time to step into the light.

Won’t you join me?

All my love,
Ash

peeling back the layers

I am writing this blog from a new place in my heart. An honest and humble place in my heart that is through with not asking hard questions. A place in my heart that is beginning to understand and accept the fact that I am not perfect today, and cannot expect myself to be perfect tomorrow.

My hard question: how do I focus on God?  I am sitting in my chair at church, completely incapable of focusing on what the pastor is saying. I have attempted to try and start reading the Bible everyday with no success. I continue to not understand verses or their purposes. I stand incapable of getting into certain worship songs. “Pray about it” they say. What about when I pray and can’t even focus on that?

My prayers, my worship, my faith, is not coming from a perfect place.

When do people talk about this? Where is a place where people can go and admit these things openly and honestly without feeling like a bad person/christian?

This week, I have found myself yet again trying to juggle the world. I’ve tried to grab more when I have no room in my hands. I have complained of emptiness when really I am full of myself, and the troubles of this world. I have admitted feeling like I am sinking when I am floating on the grace of a patient God who is waiting for me to catch a grip.

I have no answers. I have tried every human resource to find them. I have prayed. I have pondered. I feel more and more like I don’t know how to “God” somedays. What fixes this mindset? If I read a devotion everyday? If a read through the entire bible? If I worship night and day? If I attend more services? If I volunteer?

I have thought many times that I was walking down the right path at moments when I was really walking in circles. My own circles. I have mistaken spotlights for God’s light. I have mistake my thoughts for His thoughts.

I don’t write this blog to be a negative Nancy. I write it to say :hi, I am human, and if you feel this way it is A OKAY. I write it to understand myself, and maybe in the process help others understand themselves a little bit better, too.

I end with this: I am not giving up. On God. On myself. On the world. On our president. On my present and future. On my family. On my friends. On the purpose of life. On love.

I know these rough times and mindsets are not permanent,

I know the sun will shine again,

I know God is hugging me, even as I wander,

I know there is a purpose for my life,

sometimes that has to be enough.

Today it is enough.

This song though, this song humbles my heart. This song is my calm in these temporary storms. This song reminds me that there will never be a day where I have nothing. This song reminds me that I was created by a God that wants to be my friend. This song reminds me that I don’t have to understand.

It is my prayer that these words would sing to you the way they have for me. That they would humble your heart as they have mine. That it would reignite your love, hope and passion for God.

Here are the words to read while you listen.

Oh God, peal back the layers of my heart
I want communion, I want fellowship
I want to be with you where you are

I want to be with you
I want to be with you
I want to be with you, Lord

i’m nothing without
i’m barely breathing
your heart is my refuge
oh Lord

when i am tired a weak
lord will you carry me
and when i’m feeling low
hold me close
when i am tired a weak
lord will you carry me
when i am broken in two 
pull me through

All my love,

Ash

No Solution, is no solution.

Hello my dear family and friends! We are officially 1 week into 2017, and the word “resolution” is on everyone’s lips.

res·o·lu·tion
ˌrezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
  2. the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter

Before we get into why I have that definition up there…

This afternoon me and all of the Miller girls, featuring a special guest Ms. Kristina D’Amico, went to see Hidden Figures and all of us left in tears. It was a film that went beyond any standard or limit. It was a movie that didn’t waste a single second to inspire the audience. it inspired us with the most inspirational thing there is,

the truth.

“Based on a true story. A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions.” -IMDB.com

This movie fixated on solutions. Spanning from solutions to the massive problem of segregation, to mathematical problems that enables a man to orbit earth. Both types of solutions changing the world.
What made these woman different, is that they didn’t believe in the concept of there being “no solution.” They didn’t get to the status they had, or make the world changing actions they did by settling for the answer “no solution.” They were firsts. And despite their great impact, despite the fact that this great historical moment wouldn’t have happened without them,  it was over 45 years before the country learned their names.

These world changers were three people. Three human beings. But because of their skin color, their names weren’t in the papers. Their faces weren’t sketched in our history text books. Their stories deserve to be heard, it always did. And it took a 25 million dollar movie to share that story with the wide range of an audience it always deserved.

Why is this important? We can’t change the past. We can’t go back change the people who kept this story to themselves’ minds. What does this have to do with resolutions?

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something, and I’m just saying this:

I wanna do more. 

I wanna hear more.

I wanna see more.

I wanna share more.

I wanna believe more.

I wanna encourage more.

I wanna learn more.

I wanna do more do’s, and less don’ts.

I wanna find more solutions.

I wanna change those “wanna”s into “did”s.

Those woman spent their whole lives doing more, and the world is a better place because of it.

May this be a year of “no solution” being unacceptable.

May this be the year that people make movies about 45 years from now.

May this be the year of doing what we say we will do,

not just because we are capable of doing it,

but because we were made to do it. 

Maybe it’s a math solution, maybe it’s a degree, maybe it’s a job, maybe it’s a song, maybe it’s a painting, maybe it’s a conversation, maybe it’s a hobby, maybe it’s saying hello more, maybe it’s saying I love you more, or maybe it’s just saying yes more.

I am saying yes.

Yes to 2017 being the year of solutions.
The year of not settling for the “solutions” we settled for last year.
The year of not being afraid to create new solutions this year.
The year of not accepting “no solution”, as the solution.

Share more.

More stories,

more of your heart.

There are so many heroes in this world that we don’t know about, and that’s okay. Being a hero doesn’t require people knowing your name. All that matters is that what you do makes a difference, and someone is impacted by it. These woman didn’t do what they did in order to be noticed. They didn’t require recognition. I pray that I will always be the same. Doing for the sake of doing, not ever for reward.

Thrive in your differences.
This year and every year after that.
Make the world a better place because you don’t want to settle for anything less.
Because if the people who have changed the world before us had settled for anything less,

well we don’t even wanna know what that would look like.

May we never know what that looks like.

Let’s make sure this is a year that we will remember, and want to remember, because of how much of an impact it had on the world.  May it be a year worth sharing about. A year where every amazing thing, and every amazing person is known. May we never settle for any less. Heck, may it be a year worth making a movie about.

So Happy 2017 my friends and family,
may it be a year of resolutions that lead to solutions,
because no solution, is not a solution.

And I’m not going to settle this year,

are you? 

All my love,

Ashlyn

 

 

 

2017

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now I’m found,

Was blind, but now I see.

Happy 2017 my dear friends and family!

As this year begins, these words inspire me for the days to come. What makes this song so wonderful is how grateful the words and the meaning behind the words are.

Words like amazing and sweet sing to my soul. I once was lost but now I’m find, was blind but now I see. I can’t read that without smiling. It takes me back to the moments I struggled through in 2016, and refreshes me with the truth that I didn’t just survive those moments, I learned from them, and gained a better sense of the world.

Giving me such new outlook to walk into 2017 with.

This song talks about grace, and boy oh boy does this world need it. I think back to moments and opportunities I missed out on because I didn’t show grace. To myself or those around me.

I think of all the people I met that shined with grace. I remember how inspiring they were to me. I remember meeting people that didn’t waste a single opportunity to share that grace. I relish in the fact that I want to walk out of 2017 feeling I left that same impression on the people I’ll interact with this year.

My friends,

whether we are ready or not,

it is a new year,

and we are standing on a mountain of opportunity.

I encourage you. I encourage myself, to walk into this year with a purpose of making the world a better place. A purpose of inspiring everyone we meet. Of loving more. Of laughing more. Of creating. Of branching out. Of ceasing that act of comparison. Of celebrating the little things, and cherishing the big things. Of using our mobile devices to make the world a better place, instead of letting it be our world. Of spending more time in conversations. Of saying lots of hellos. Of more hugs. Of more cheers. Of more try try agains. Of more believing. Of more hope. Of more you, being the best of you there is. A year of more Amazing Grace.

I am so so excited. Aren’t you?

2017,

Here. We. Come. 

All my love and support of your dreams,

Ashlyn.

Home is wherever I’m with you

As I write this, I struggle to find the balance between writing freely, and over thinking every word. I’ve tried to write this a couple times, this first blog back from a several month hiatus, and for some reason it’s been really hard. I think one of the worst parts I find about taking breaks from writing is that suddenly your craft, this thing you appreciate and adore, feels foreign to you. That’s kind of the theme of this post, the idea that when things, people or places, feel like strangers because we walk away from them for too long. But then we coming back to them, and are embraced freely and without judgment, simply because they’re just happy we’re back.

So, here is my latest mountain:

SURPRISE! I moved to Fort Worth, Texas! About a month ago, me and 6 of my 7 family members packed up the contents of our life in a 24ft moving truck and embarked on a 7 day journey half way across the country. We moved really fast, kind of like a refresh button. But it was a refresh I didn’t think I needed, or more specifically, wanted for myself. I knew, however, how hard it would be to stay back and be so far away from my family.

I prayed about it long and hard, because here was this thing in my life, this problem, this uncertainty.

Now, what seems to be a pattern for me is that it takes something coming up for me to go and talk to God. That’s when I go and ask “what are you doing?” “where am I going?” “what is your plan?”

I can’t help but feel that God is like, “Ya know, I’m absolutely willing to share all of this with you, but I really kinda wish you would’ve come to me sooner. I’ve got all this stuff going on behind the scenes, and I know you don’t really see much of it yet, but if you would’ve come, if you would’ve asked, if you would’ve just said ‘hey dude, what’s shaken’ or where do you want me?’ we could’ve had this great conversation, but now I need you to just trust me. I need you to take my hand and believe that wherever you go, there is a purpose for it.”

So, I went to God, I prayed really hardcore, asking all the questions, “do I stay or do I go” and clear as day… Crystal clear as day, God said, “Follow Your Family.”Every time I prayed about it, the answer remained the same.

This pissed me off. I was praying so hard for a different answer then the one I was given. I was not content with the answer I was being given. And so, I followed my human tendencies, and became resentful. I fell right into my favorite weapon… the silent treatment.

God is so good. So good. And yet the only phrases I sang to Him were “where are you? “what the heck are you thinking, why am I here, why am I not here, why is this happening in my life, what do you want?”

I really noticed in my life this past month the way that I’ve been carrying out my relationship with God, and it’s this:

It’s like I’m sitting across from Him at a coffee table. Here I am sitting across from one of the most amazing, most creative, most inspiring friend ever. Here’s God, sitting in front of me all the time. We are always at this coffee table, I will always have this opportunity to look up and say “hey, what do you think about this”, and you know what I do instead? I look anywhere but towards Him. I’ll look at the ground or my phone or anywhere expect in front of me. And yet, I will have the audacity to say “I miss you God.”

Why do we only miss God when stuff gets hard?  Why is that when we notice we haven’t been looking at God, and on top of that, instead of noticing that we aren’t looking at God, we point our fingers and say “where are you?”

How gracious is God that he doesn’t yell at us every day saying “where are you?!” he’s sitting here, looking at you with the most adoring eyes saying “you know, I’m ready whenever you are. Finish whatever you’re working on, but just so you know, I’m here. I’d love to talk.

Throughout the craziness that was this move, through the days of bitterness and of just complete desire to go back home, to my physical home, I continued to walk farther and farther away from my home with God. And like usual, as I was walking alone… I missed Him. I missed talking to Him. I missed hearing Him in melodies. I missed Him.

You see, in my life, it’s almost become a pattern of home, run away, home, run away, and so on. And here I was, being moved from my literal home, being moved from my physical home, and instead of running into the arms of the best home ever, the arms of God. I ran away. I decided it was His fault, and that He had no idea what He was doing.

Sound familiar?

But, I still missed Him.

And quickly, those overwhelming feelings of missing Him, far outweighed my feelings of being pissed off. That all really came to a headway though about two weeks ago, in my living room with Lauren. On the TV, a Hillsong conference was being broadcasted called, “She Rises.” The worship band was just beginning to play To My Knees. 

In the second verse, it specifically says, In my vacant heart, you came and made a home and that was a sensitive but beautiful word in my life. That idea of home. In that moment, chills went up my spine because that was everything I was looking for. Everything that was all around me and yet I looked anywhere but forward. I looked anywhere but at the house I sat inside. I looked anywhere but at God across the coffee table. I had been refusing to call anything home, because it wasn’t the home I wanted. I played that song, and still play that song, on repeat constantly. And with each time, my voice got a little louder, my arms got a little higher, I moved my gaze closer and closer to God. “In my vacant heart you came and made a home, in my vacant heart you came and made a home, in my vacant heart you came and made a home” because that is what I need in every aspect of my life. No matter where I go or where I am, or who I am surrounded by, that is what will always matter. As long as I am home with God, I will always feel at home. The only reason I didn’t feel at home here was because I wasn’t home with God.

This is kinda a different branch of the story, but it rings loud in my heart as well. I have never been very good at reading the bible. That is me being completely transparent. Me, a pastors kid my whole life, couldn’t tell you all the chapters’ names or quote much of any verses. I get distracted, I don’t understand what it means. I just struggled to get through it or take anything away from it. I’ve always had so many people around me talk about how they don’t just read the bible, but they journal through it, and here I am hardly able to read through it and just focus. And during this recent reunion with God, I knew I didn’t want to settle for that anymore. I saw another area in my life, in my spiritual journey where I had gotten off track and hadn’t tried to fix it.

This moment in my living room… this was it. That was the finish line for my wandering identity. I needed to worship. I needed to pray. I needed to read, love, and understand the word.

For about two years now, a bible verse that God has constantly put on my heart is Isaiah 14:7 – All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing. Now some of you know more of my story than others, but almost two years ago, my life went through a huge emotional change in which I suffered loss, pain, and betrayal, and my life was anything but at rest or peace. And yet, God sang that verse to me. At first I was almost angry at Him.  “My life’s not at rest! I’m not at peace! And I don’t even know how to break into song anymore.” I mean the things of life are never really at rest or peaceful, right?

So here I was, two weeks ago, coming out of another phase of wandering, desperate to find peace, desperate to find rest and BAM Isaiah 14:7, right on cue. So I read it, I’m like “Dude, what are you talking about? What does this mean?”

And I felt God say, “What are you gonna do to make this verse true? 

What are you gonna do to make the lands feel at peace and at rest? I am willing to help you, I am willing to get you there, but what are YOU gonna do to get there?”

I think a lot of time in life, we just expect God to do 100%, and what we don’t realize is that God LOVES teamwork. He loves working with us! He loves when we are actually interested in working with Him, and carrying out His word, and making the world a better place. In changing lives and saving lives. 

“What are you gonna do to make your life at rest and at peace? 

What are you gonna do to inspire the world to break into song? 

That peace would be restored over the entire world, 

so that ALL the lands are at rest 

ALL the lands are at peace

Not just your life.

I am sitting here, I am your friend

I believe in you more than you can possibly imagine. 

And I can do anything I set my heart to, but so can you so 

What are YOU going to do

to make this verse true in your life and in the lives of those around you.”

So my question for myself, for you, for your sister, brother, coworker, for your best friend or the person sitting next to you in a coffee shop is:

What are you going to do to make Isaiah 14:7 true?

First step: Come home.

All my love,

Ash

In a time of need, of uncertainty and of despair, this woman’s willingness to share her heart and to use her personal story to inspire others gives me hope. Thank you Lord for placing stories like this one at my fingertips. God Bless you Sara Gilmore.You are inspiring us!!

It’s been a quiet few months around here. And by “around here” I mean the blog; my life has been quite the opposite. I’d say sorry for the silence, but I think dormancy is essential to growth, and good grief, I needed the space. Sometimes you need a season of just living stories without thinking […]

via Sacred Storms & Wild Hope — Wonder & Wandering