Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vacation: a recap.

vacation was so good for my soul. completely and totally awesome. 

there were some parts that were hard. some stuff that tugged at my emotions. some stuff that just melted my soul (in a good way). and some stuff that just was. but i wanted to make a list of highlights (some may be surprising) from the 5 days i had off... 

1. getting to hug melody, scott, heidi, ty, and jonie. 
2. waking up in the morning being at scott and mel's and having a dearly loved friend pour me a cup of coffee. 
3. coffee = breakfast beer
4. My Drunk Kitchen: Ice cream
5. singing at the top of my lungs while mowing scott and mel's yard - thinking that nobody could hear me...
6. seeing Mel's face light up when she had a finished garden. 
7. Seeing her face light up even more as she told me and scott what all she had planted while we were out shooitng.
8. spending a day shooting with the guys
9. almost beating scott at shooting skeet
10. having scott tell me that i'm great shooter
11. slicing open my thumb on the slide of my gun - rookie mistake
12. bantering with the guys while out shooting
13. going on a photography quad-ride with mel through the orchards
14. BBQ's
15. authentic community
16. sunshine
17. going to horsethief butte for the first time since Tony and Laura's accident and being able to sit with the crazy emotions i have about all that
18. having friends be proud of me stepping out in faith and stepping towards healing
19. mel making me a "ashley style" self care list
20. having " doing something risky that ends with minor injuries" as an acceptable means of self care
21. having friends that love me and know me
22. having friends that will randomly let me stay with them for 3 days
23. Eureka
24. guns
25. ninja stars
26. blow gun
27. coconut beer
28. finding a new awesome waterfall to hang out at
29. owning a vehicle
30. having a job that let's me take vacation
31. having a loving family to come home to
32. smoking pipes and talking about life

i may have missed some - but i think that's a majority of the highlights

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vacation: Day 3

Well - today was my last day in Yakima... it was sunny and in the 80's again today. So awesome to be able to be outside all day and get a tan!

We went shooting today... we went to the new shooting range that the guys have gotten memberships at... it was fun. i shot a lot of guns - sliced open my thumb on the slide of my new gun (oops) and got a hickie from a .300 win mag.... all around great day.

especially with the comment from scott as we were leaving the range "well ashbert... you are one heck of a good shot." to which dan agreed. it feels good to be told i'm good at something i love, from someone who is WAY better than i am. i got a long way to go to be able to beat him, but scott has been shooting for a long time... i look up to scott a lot - and to get that kind of a compliment from him meant the world to me... encourages me to keep on going.

after we got back from shooting we had some dinner and then me and melody went out on the quad and took some pictures of the valley... the cherry trees were blooming and it was wonderful.

The best part of today was when we were out shooting and i got a text regarding something at church - and i was so confused because i had totally missed that it was sunday and my team was at church leading the kidz... to be able to completely get lost in the time i've had here and be able to relax and not think/worry about work. That is truly amazing and something my soul so deeply needed.

I've had a lot of conversations while i've been here - some deep, some not... but my soul has been fed in a way that it has been longing for for quite a while... I was challenged, and encouraged during these 3 short days... and blessed beyond anything i could have hoped for. I'm so thankful that the Lord gave me these friends and that even through all the shit that has happened the last few years we are able to be more real with each other and still have fun and enjoy the simple things in life...

like running through the sprinklers, riding quads, shooting guns, and playing in the dirt.

tomorrow i venture on to Bellingham. hopefully. to see another friend and her 3 cute kids (2 of which, twins, i havn't met yet)  i'm excited.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vacation: Day 2

Welp - today was pretty much awesome. i got to be outside all day working with scott and Mel. I mowed their yard on the new riding mower (that was fun!) and we built a lil garden bed for Melody... and me and mel went and bought dirt... and then - after some just plain rest time and good conversation, we had some friends over. it was soooooo good to get to see people... and just talk and hang out and be in community again...

good for the soul.

i talked about a lot of stuff today with people, had some good breakthroughs, a couple light bulb moments, and started making some big decisions... i'm pretty excited and a little bit nervous about what life is gonna bring at me next... :)

Me and mel talked about life, and my freak out moments, and processing, and expectations that people have put on us that are untrue, and listening to yourself, and freedom, and all kinds of stuff. it was good.

real good.

we talked about school - and how if i don't need to go, and i don't have a desire to go - that i probably shouldn't be going right now... unless God really starts pushing me to do that... and Scott busted in on that conversation and told me it wasn't worth getting 30 thousand more in debt to get a title that doesn't really do much for you...

and then Ty and I had a good talk while smoking pipes... and i was able to just be real and talk with him...and it felt normal, like i was remembering how to be in real relationships with people... and we talked about some of the same stuff - and i actually talked about some dad stuff for the first time with him, (i dont think he even realizes that) and it was good...  i think the conversation with mel helped me to be able to have that conversation - and we talked about him and heidi - and opportunitites they have - and Jesus.... that was real good too...

then me and Heidi got to talk a little bit... and that was good for my soul too... challenging, but good. it's amazing to me how challenging a little conversation on a couch with a friend can be...

and tomorrow we are going to shoot guns :)

oh - and i got sunburnt. happy!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Vacation: Day 1

it's day one of vacation... and it's been great so far.

i left salem around 9:30, stopped at REI in clackamas, then headed to Jen's to pick something up for scott and Dan - when D said i could borrow his AR-15 for the weekend to go shooting :) i got giddy like a lil kid on christmas.... So - i loaded up and off i went into the gorge... I was headed for Eagle Creek - but got off an exit to soon and ended up at Wahclella Falls... i had never hiked it before - so i figured i'd give it a go... i tried to fit my camp stove and stuff into my lil backpack - but the pan wouldn't fit (i forgot to buy the snopeak cup i wanted to get at REI so i didn't always have to use my pot to boil water...) so i decided it was only a 2 mile trial - i'd just eat lunch when i got back... hiked in - and OH MY GOSH!!!! it was one of - if not the - most beautiful hike i've ever been on... took my breath away - and was so good for my soul...

then - i finally left the amazingness (you'll just have to go see it for yourself - or wait till i post a picture) got back to my car - ate lunch - and then continued to Yakima.

Then i got to Yakima...

and it was awesome! Being with Scott and Mel just seems so normal. it didn't have any of that awkwarness that sometimes comes when you havnt seen a friend in a long time... NONE... it was so great to just be able to be here and not have any expectations... so we hung out for a lil, ate dinner, and then went for a W.A.L.K.  (gotta spell it so lucy doesn't freak out).  we left scott at the house to try and figure out the sprinkler system - which he was sure was just going to be another line he had to fix somewhere... anyhow - we went on a W.A.L.K. and along the way these two dogs started following us around... they were two super cute yellow labs... and they just kept following us as we walked... we kept trying to figure out what to do to get them to go home - but they kept following us... anyhow - we walked all the way around the loop and decided we should try and take them back to where they started following us... as we were about 3/4 of the way up the hill we heard a kid at the top of the hill start yelling for them "LUCY... come here lucy"

me and mel started cracking up

mel's dog is named lucy - and when the labs showed up we started calling her to follow us instead of go with the other dogs... but we couldn't figure out why they kept following us... WELL - we figured it out... the one was just being good and following where she was asked to go - and the other was just following her friend :)

we got back to the house after a good laugh - and found scott getting ready to test the sprinklers... (which i had said earlier that it would be awesome if they worked when he turned them on... he didn't think it would happen) well guess what.

we played in the sprinklers... :)

then we watched drunk kitchen, ate popcorn, and drank smoothies...

all in all... one of the best nights i've had in a long time.

Day 2: bring it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Uphill the whole way

I rode to work today again... And I rode home!!! Well, I walked the last block.. But. It's almost 3 miles (I thought it was 2) and legitimately, it's
Uphill the whole way home...

That's all. I feel like I broke the "oh my gosh, I'll never be able to do this!" phase and maybe I'll actually get in shape...

Monday, April 16, 2012


My brain has been scattered a million places today... Some good, some bad, some funny, and some like walking nightmares.... It hasn't been so great of a day really... But it's bedtime. And tomorrow will be a new day.

I'm going to ride my bike to work tomorrow... I am. I really want to....

I'm also a pro at talking myself out of work and being lazy and driving....

So, hopefully I'll ride my bike tomorrow. Going to work will be a breeze. Coming home is 2 ish miles up hills... The last half mile gains nearly 500 ft. Which doesn't seem like much in writing... But I know my out of shape legs are going to disagree by the time I get there... Having gone 1.5 miles uphill already.

Pray that tomorrow I can have more peace and ... Just be....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A kid's view...

Yesterday i went out on an adventure to try and get some inspiration for our kids time last night (which i had forgot about - thank you easter)... anyhow, i went to a thrift store - and walked out empty handed...

then i went to the bible book house (which happens to be a block away)... now, i don't usually go to bible stores - cause they're kinda cheesy normally - but, i needed a new bible and i figured... why not.

I walked out with a new bible (which is a "kids" bible... mostly it just looks cooler), the passion white flag CD, and a kids devotional.  I mostly bought the devotional because i'm about to start working on my next set of curriculum and figured a little extra inspiration couldn't hurt - and i wanted to try and find a few that my kids might actually be willing to read through...

well - i decided i might as well actually try and read through the devotional myself. Working at a church has definitely hindered on how much time i desire to spend in the word myself... just for me... cause i'm thinking about it all day, challenging kids with it... blah blah blah... it's kinda like being in bible college again.

anyhow - i figured it would be easy cause instead of like 4 pages that most adult devotional are each day - this is like, half a page... maybe... well - let me tell you.... When Jesus called us to have "faith like a child" there was really something to that... this stinkin "kids" devotional just wrecked me.

First day. First sentence. WRECKED.

in a good way of course.

Today's reading was about trusting God - how it's an everyday, even minute, all the time type choice... I wish that , as an adult, i was a better example of this to the kids i work with... I wish i chose to trust God more obviously everyday all the time...

well - here's to trusting jesus... with faith like a child... every day. all the time. minute by minute.

wanna be challenged? seriously? go get a kids devotional and read it... the simplicity of them is actually pretty challenging...

the one i got is called "Jesus Calling"

do it - i dare ya.

Monday, March 26, 2012

the alarm

i spent the majority of today separating out cans and re-bagging them to take back to the bottle drop center for camp stuff...  which translates into most of the day spent doing a mindless task, alone, listening to music... sounds well enough - but i also spent the majority of the day with a major alarm going off in my brain... my stomach was in knots all day - telling me something was wrong that i need to deal with. STAT.

i fought through wether i should let anybody in on this - or if asking for prayer, or letting anyone know would just be me being a burden - being a wreck over the same things that i still can't talk about... it took most of the morning for me to decide that i needed to let someone in - and that they probably wouldn't look at it that way. i didn't really believe that - but i had to just walk in that truth and see what happened... so i texted a friend and let her in on the fact that my stomach was in knots...  which proceeded to put it more in knots.

she reminded me that it was my body trying to tell me that there's something going on inside my heart that needs to be dealt with... that it was an alarm - and a really loud one, cause i probably ignored all the other alarms... right - i'm really good at that one - our heart doesnt really have a snooze button.

i tried to decipher what my heart was saying and came up short...

but here are the things i do know - that are probably going to help point me in the right direction at some point...

i haven't been sleeping well. there have been a lot of sleepless hours trying to fall asleep and when i do, its not very good sleep...

i just finished reading "The shack" - i've known for a while now that i was on the edge of not being able to hold it together anymore, but i'm not very good at opening up, so i thought that if i read something that would bring up emotions and memories, it might give me that final push over the edge and help me open up... (which may not be the best method of healing)

it's been a year and half of me shoving the pain, grief, anger, confusion, and tears of the death of my bio dad... i havn't talked about it with anyone because it scares the crap out of me... there's so much i don't know and there's so many emotions that just seem wrong. so - it's been a year and half of shoving all that deeper and deeper...

i'm workign with children who adore me and look up to me - and i'm suppose to be leading them towards Christ, teaching them and being an example of how to love well... i feel like i'm failing them - like i have nothing to give... and i have to struggle through the words that my last pastor spoke about me in regards to ministry and try not to believe them - words from somebody i trusted and looked up to.

i'm living with a family - and it's becoming more natural and comfortable to be part of that family - and my natural instict is to run from that... i don't know how to ask for what i need from them as a family... i have moments when i feel deeply loved and like i'm truly part of the family - and i have moments when i feel like an outsider renting a room and intruding on their family moments...

 there's a boy i have a huge crush on - that might like me back... i don't know - but he told me i looked great the other night and it affected my heart - which freaked me out and made me happy all the at the same time.... i feel very lost in this situation. scared. unsure. i don't want to get my emotions involved if it's nothing... but i don't want to shut him off and make it seem like i'm not interested...

i'm starting school in the fall again. i'm scared i wont be able to handle it. that i've lost my smarts... that my brain wont work right anymore. that i'll never be able to finish and get my degree that seems so close and yet so far away...

i'm pretty sure the Lord has called me to stay in salem for a while and do ministry here... to stay in the states. to stop wishing and having my heart overseas while i'm doing ministry half assed over here... but to get my heart involved here - to love the kids in salem and to dig deep and start something big to reach out to the hurting kids here that i'm (apparenlty) uniquely able to connect with and love on...  but at the same time - i still want to be overseas... the thought of not getting to go back to the relationships i built over there breaks my heart... and it shatters everything i've been living for - everything i've done for the past 8 years has been to prepare me for overseas ministry...  my degree, my trainings, what i own, how i've lived... that all has to change if i'm going to get rooted here.

i have a sever lack of motivation to get in shape... one of the main reasons i am usually disappointed with myself is my lack of motivation... especially when it involves exercise and loosing weight and getting in shape... there are so many things i want to do that i cannot do and will never get to unless i can figure out a way to get motivated and have a little self discipline... i just don't know how - and loosing weight is one of the hardest areas for me to let anyone in... to be real with my goals and my desires and my true feelings about myself...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

consistency and headaches...

i'm not real sure where i wanna go with this - but i feel like i need to blog something... my heart is all up in knots right now - but nothing will come out. actually - i got a headache as soon as i thought about blogging - a headache i havn't had in a long time... the headache i get when my brains and my heart start fighting... the headache i get when my heart wants to process something that my brains still think will kill me and isn't safe to remember... when my brain pumps itself full of some kind of chemical to keep me from feeling and thinking through certain things... seriously - this happens... its apparently a symptom of ptsd that i havn't gotten rid of... which leaves me with that nagging suspicion and the knot in my gut that says that there's more pain inside there - that my brain still isn't sure its safe to remember yet.

anyhow - lately these headaches have been coming up because i haven't had the consistency i use to have of talking things out... talking out the hard stuff - the painful stuff - the stuff my brains thinks isn't safe... i haven't had the consistency of close authentic relationships that revolve around truth and the really real stuff of life... i still have those relationships - but they're not consistent anymore... they're here and there, text message and emails - and then large breaks... my brains apparently don't like that. they got scared. they ran. they're hiding things from me again...

i want to talk it out - i really do... but my brains really honestly wont let me... i can't just decide i'm going to talk about the hard stuff with you one day... my brains have been so trained to hide things to keep me safe, to keep me alive - that they need the consistency of being safe... they need the consistency to remember... that it's safe... that the wounds in my heart wont cause me to self destruct... that my emotions wont kill me...

they need the consistency that i don't have right now.

so... honestly, i'm dying inside... i can tell you that much - my headaches remind me daily that there is something going on... but i don't have words to tell you what's causing it... i just have a headache that i know means there's pain - deep deep pain that needs love and truth to heal it...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Today for K2 (my Wednesday night awesome time for kids) we sumo wrestled!!!! 6 inflated inner tubes I found in the basement from the old youth leader... A roll of duct tape... And 13 excited and somewhat smelly children... And we had an awesome night!!!! I'll put up a link to the video once I get it up.

Doing ministry with kids is fun... Having fun with them... Loving them... Challenging them.... Leading them to Jesus...

I like it!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Summit of Ministry

So we had a "leadership summit" this weekend at church where we talking and talked and kept talking about what it means to be "missional". The things we're talking about are the very things u live my life by. Community. Authenticity. Experience. Love. Just loving others and being Christ to those around you. Not having a big plan - or a strategy but just loving those who are around you in your daily life... And this weekend is real boring because everyone is struggling with understanding this stuff - and I'm just sitting here pulling my hair out from boredom... Until Jesus decided to call me out on something.

We're going through this program called 'moving back into the neighborhood' and I start getting called out on the fact that I know there is a deep need right near the church among elementary age kids... Kids who have broken families and would rather be anywhere but home and don't know what it means to be loved and accepted for who they are.... Hmmm... Sounds a lot like me when I was a kid.... I think I might be able to connect with those students. I have a story that makes me uniquely gifted to connect and care for those kids - and there's multiple schools in walking distance from the church that are full of hurting children.

A call.

A purpose.

A mission field. Salem...

I'm okay with those first 3 things - but I was really just waiting for God to give me those 3 things in Slovenia... Or Africa... Or upper kamikaze-Stan...


But alas - my heart is bursting with ideas and excitement for reaching the hurting children in north east Salem...

I've seen the bat call and I'm jumping into the bat mobile ...

And I'm sure this journey is gonna be just as amusing as a comic.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Definition // Truth Slap //

[Verb] when one lovingly tells you the hard truth you need to hear and then waits for it to make sense.