Life

2016 in Review

It’s the last day of 2016, say what?!

It’s hard to believe that it’s about to be a brand new year. For me, the Lord certainly taught me a lot in 2015, but the bulk of 2016 was characterized by the return to a new sense of normalcy and reflecting on how to love and live well in the aftermath of a tumultuous season of loss. It’s “easy” to turn to God when you’ve been broken and He’s your only source of strength, but to keep turning to Him when things improve? That’s harder than one might think and something tells me that it will be something that I will continue striving to improve on in 2017.

In the meantime, let’s look back at some of what 2016 had for me!…

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Change // I Will Follow

Change is hard.

I know, you’re probably like, Hey Ashley, way to state the obvious there.

There’s good change, of course, and there’s also bad changes. There’s also change that you’re just not quite sure how to feel about.

I find myself in that camp more often than not.

#allthefeels.

When it comes to spiritual change, also known as spiritual growth, that’s one that is particularly difficult to process. Spiritual growth makes you finally stop and look at that reflection in the mirror and take a long hard look at your life and your relationship with God. It forces you to celebrate the areas where you have grown and acknowledge the areas where you are still in desperate need of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Lately, I have been feeling a little bit stagnant within my church community and have been wrestling with a lot of feelings about it. I’ve been attending this church for just over two years and God definitely brought me to that place at the perfect time….

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Friends, Laughter, and Puppies in Sweaters

This past Saturday, my small group came together as an early Christmas gathering for some food, games, laughs, and you guessed it, puppies in sweaters. We played Telestrations (hilarious game) and watched funny YouTube videos, but the hit of the night was definitely Coco, the little yorkie that our small group leader was watching for a friend. He was such a calm and chill puppy and was wearing the cutest argyle sweater!

Puppies in Sweaters

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Identity Crisis

I want this space to be a place of joy. A place for encouragement and dare I hope, a little inspiration.

Writing brings me joy. It centers me in ways that I never expected and lets me process all the things that my mind tends to jumble up into one giant, well, mess. I only wish that I had realized this penchant for writing words sooner.

I’ve rebelled for so long against the idea of sharing anything overly personal on this blog for awhile now and I don’t even know if it was a conscious decision. Sure, I’ve shared of the grief that I experienced in Fall of 2015 when I lost my grandmother and my aunt but not much else. This blog was quickly turning into a blog that was centered around grief and loss and I had skipped right on over the “getting to know you” stuff. If you scroll back through my archives, it’s almost laughable at how random and sporadic my posts were.

When I was in the midst of that season of loss, I can’t tell you how many moments of joy and gratitude there were between me and God. It was truly beautiful. So many of the promises that He made in Scripture were being played out in my life and for the first time, I felt true joy in the Lord and in His amazing strength. I was so overcome that I wanted to write about it. I wanted to share that with others but I began to try and do that in glossy, picture-perfect ways. I wanted my blog to look like so many of the other blogs out there and share things the way that so many others did. But in doing that, I skipped over one of the most important parts.

The journey….

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Beards and Beanies // An Asheville Weekend

This past weekend I spent a day and a half in Asheville and it was no where near enough. I arrived on Friday around three in the afternoon and headed home Saturday night around 9:30 and the entire drive home, I daydreamed of a day when maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have to leave.

My heart and my soul belong to the mountains, I’ve written of that before. I live for the crisp Fall days, the beautiful rolling hills, and the fresh snowfall in the Winter. The mountains may call my name, but Asheville in many ways calls me home.

The first time I ever visited Asheville was in the summer of 2012, and I knew this place was special. In Boone, where I went to college, it was very rural and very much a small town. Having grown up adjacent to Charlotte, city life was a far cry from what Boone was and I never really saw myself staying there to live. When I visited Asheville, I remember my jaw literally dropping when I realized that the city was both populated enough to be considered a city and it had the sprawling mountain views….

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