Hearing His Voice

You ever been around people that just brag about their adventure and you just want to experience it for yourself? Well, this was me and the year 2015 was definitely an experience to remember. For a couple of years (at least it felt that way) I was desiring to have another type of experience with God. I read about him, sung about him , prayed to him , and felt I needed more. I wanted to hear his voice . I knew God had different ways of getting my attention but I wanted to hear him for myself.
I prayed and prayed ..nothing happened. I turned off all of my distractions..nothing happened. I even went on a complete fast ..and NOTHING HAPPENED! That season was very frustrating ! It’s like calling a restaurant to make an order and no one is picking up the phone so you’re questioning if you even have the right number, lol. I talked with my aunt and her response was to keep waiting . So one fun fact about me is that I’m an introvert ( I wouldn’t say I’m quiet 100% )but my mind stays busy like NYC traffic, which I guess made it hard to hear God.
One day in January 2015, the weather was at its coldest and living in the south with snow was the motivation I needed to stay in from work. I had my t.v off , just finished a meal , and started washing dishes. As I washed the dishes in complete silence it was at that moment I heard his voice. I always imagined I would hear a loud , thunder, manly voice and I’m glad that didn’t happen because I probably would of ran out of my apartment,lol.
The best way I could describe how he sounded to me is similar to my thoughts. A confident, strong sounding thought if that make any sense. If you could imagine hearing your parents speak to you but in your voice , that’s what it was . I knew it was him because I know how I think and talk. He said ” hello daughter , it’s great to hear from you .” My eyes stretched and I felt overwhelmed with joy. The experience I waited so long for finally came and the anticipation was worth every minute. 

For The Selective Palate

 

images

I’m not sure what brought me to this path of being a picky eater. I could say money was a factor or the fact my mom worked long hours. Truth was, the last thing on her mind was to come home to cook a Lebanese Thanksgiving meal. Even if she did cook like that, I already made my mind up that if it’s not the texture then it’s the presentation of food that will make me cringe. Also, the fact I had people that supported my picky outlook on food rather than push me to try new things.  Why change when you already know what’s best for you, right? Well this all started to change once I got married. For my husband’s birthdays he likes to try new dishes and for some reason I started having the same craving to try new things as well. Rocky start but eventually I became open to new possibilities.

This continued in the workplace as well. My business trip to New York interrupted my comfort level greatly especially with food. We went to restaurants I would probably pass by in order to get some pizza and was served beverages that reminded me I was not in the south.  I did have a chance to visit a French restaurant and for the first time I tried macaroons!  Who would have guessed this picky person would one day open up to opportunities and try something better than the ‘norm’?

The way I am with food is sometimes translated in my relationship with God. I’m very persistent (okay, stubborn at times) and I like to have things done a certain way because that’s what I’m used to. However, I’m also learning that with God his way is better and part of understanding his way requires faith. It’s not easy. It’s like having a plate of some of the nastiest vegetables and your parents saying ,”Eat it, it’s good for you”.  Eventually , your taste changes and you become sensitive to what you eat and open to new dishes. Once you ( including me ) realize God’s hand in your life , you’ll become sensitive and willing to submit to his path.  So for the selective palate, I dare you to go out and explore not only food but God’s will for your life ūüôāimage1 (2)

emBrace Your journey 

Have you ever imagined accomplishing a goal but because of your age you were ‘too late’? It’s so easy to place an expiration date on something that shows no sign of being ruined soon.

I’m in my late 20’s and I just got braces.. for the second time! Looking back from my first experience, there was a lot of challenges I faced and one was the result of my mom not being able to finish my treatment plan. Little did I know, the setbacks I experienced inspired my appreciation for dentistry. If I didn’t see my mom struggle financially I wonder if my desire to serve in dentistry would be the same? Or If I didn’t have a peg lateral could I relate to others when it comes to self esteem?

It’s like what you’re going through is not just for you but it’s to help others. So it’s very important to embrace your journey by completing it. I knew in order to get the results I wanted from my smile I needed to finish what I started , which was getting braces. So maybe it’s not braces or academics, maybe it’s a business idea and you’ve been hesitating for a while. I’m here to encourage us both by saying keep pushing! Don’t single yourself out because of small circumstances. Someone is waiting be inspired from your story all you have to do is embrace your journey ūüôā

 

Red light , Green light

In the game Red light, Green light one person is chosen to be the traffic cop . The other players stand a few feet away while the ‘cop’ has their back facing the players. When the ‘cop’ says “green light”, the players race to tag him/her. When the ‘cop’ says “red light” , the players have to stop in their tracks . If the’ cop’ catches someone moving that person have to return to the starting line and the first person that tags the ‘cop’ wins.

RedlightgameI love the principle of this game , it’s not like Mother May I where you need validation to move.  In ‘Mother May I ‘ , every step you make is closely watched, whether it’s to see your progress or you fail and as a result start over similar to ‘Red light, Green light’.

For the longest I’ve played ‘Mother May I’ with the wrong people or having the wrong attitude. Some ‘moves’ I made in the past were from validation , you know , you think you’re in the right direction because you have someone’s approval only having to start over. I was used to this game until I started paying attention to some of God’s lessons. Did you know God knows our complete story before we were born? (Jeremiah 1:5) Therefore we don’t need someone to approve our purpose, personality, or appearance! Also instead of valuing everyone’s opinion I believe he likes us to consider him and play ‘Father May I’ instead. The difference in his game is that he’s merciful and when you move without his permission , he won’t let you start completely over.

The game to play with everyone along with the right attitude is Red light, Green light. I was taught how to make big moves while moving silently. I used to share my ideas before strategically planning so you could only imagine my list of fails lol. It’s not bad to share your plans but for me it made a big difference.

Mother May I and Red light, Green light are fun games to play especially when applied in life. Learn to move silently without the approval of others and you’ll be on your way towards your goals!

cartoonrunner-launcestonathleticclub-com

 

 

 

The Power of Saying “NO!”

IMG_1144

If every answer to a question was a ‘yes’ I wonder what would life be like? Even though there’s¬† glamour in saying yes , there’s definitely power in a no.¬†¬†‘No’ will direct you on the right path.¬† I can’t tell you how many times I was rejected in my relationship quests when I was younger but let’s just say I was persistent, lol. The same determination I had stuck with me when I started applying for jobs (100 applications & 20 interviews later..¬†) . The experiences were frustrating yet it somehow gave me fuel to keep pushing myself to the point I had to stop and evaluate what was going on.¬† Chasing guys did not look pretty so when I finally gained a better understanding of who God created me to be¬†that’s when I became friends with my now husband. After applying to a million jobs and receiving no’s , it directed me on the path I’m on now.

‘No’ is good for your well-being. Making promises to everyone can be stressful and overwhelming.¬†When¬†you finally accept the fact that you can’t please everyone it feels like a sigh of relief.¬†Creating the guest list for my wedding was very stressful at first. I had so many people in mind I pictured at the wedding but it was conflicting with the actual cost. I looked up a great method on how to handle the guest list and it relieved my stress tremendously!

‘No’ helps you think clearer . Honestly , saying no right away is not¬†my first response. There’s so much power in our words but to mentally process what we’re asked first¬†is power all on its on. How many times did we agree to something without thinking through the question first? When I submitted my DAT (Dental Admission Test) scores , the schools sent me emails immediately after. They knew my character but wanted me to push more academically. The¬†schools said ‘no, not now’ ,which¬†was great because it allowed me think clearer on what I wanted .

To hear the word ‘no’ can bring so much emotions , good and bad, depending on how you receive it.¬† I think God created that word with us in mind. He wants to protect us, keep us in perfect health, and mature our thinking . So the next time you’re rejected be joyful because something great is on your way!

 

Live as an adult& think like a child

You ever sat at a bench and people-watched? Random yet interesting especially children. They’re funny, straight to the point, full of energy, and believe almost anything. As a child I believed in a lot even if it didn’t make logical sense , you had my support 100%. For instance , how did Santa get into my house without a chimney or a key? I wasn’t sure but I knew he came because I had half eaten cookies to prove it lol.

Mocha,_a_Pumpkin_Spice_Latte,_a_Half-Eaten_Chocolate_Cookie_and_a_Notebook

It’s something about children¬†I truly enjoy. They were¬†the inspiration behind my career decision in second grade and even now as a children’s church teacher I admire them at times. I appreciate how children are wowed at¬†the simplest things .They’re ex- friends¬†then best friends in the same hour,¬†you may have to talk to them once…twice…or a million and¬†yet it’s¬†easier to be yourself to them than an adult sometimes.

One place I can count on where everyone has a childlike mentality is Disney World. The atmosphere is so friendly and carefree . I know the times I’ve gone I think I actually felt like it was a part of my happily ever after.. like I didn’t have go back to work the following week.l8uobo-l8uoa1mickeyandminniemouse¬†I live for¬†these¬†kind of moments.¬†Moments of¬†random joy , peace, forgiveness, ¬†and faith. As our bodies mature into adults I wonder what shifts our thinking ? Life’s lessons are taught when we’re in our humblest state, when we’re able to listen and follow direction. I think children are the best teachers¬†because¬†they don’t understand everything and its okay.. what a great characteristic!

While it’s the season to take on responsibilities as adults there are seasons for us to enjoy life with a childlike way of thinking. Things will pop up in life where it doesn’t make sense and it’s okay God’s got it all figured out. There are times you’ll have to forgive others and even though you may not be friends , it’s okay just move on . It’s time to¬†embrace the silly , carefree moments and enjoy life as a kid :-)!IMG_1124

#Picture Perfect

I don’t think words could explain how happy I was in these moments so you could only imagine how grateful I was to have an amazing photographer . The picture on the left was from one of our engagement photos. Our theme was Princess and The Frog , I was inspired from the era so I chose old poses for our shoot. We had lots of fun that day , so much joy and laughter. Laughing from my then fianc√© picking me up three times before we got a good photo, looking at each other awkwardly in our pose while the photographer changed his lens, and how some man stopped to look at us take photos then asked if we had money. What a perfect picture!

The picture on the right was from one of our wedding pictures of course. Extremely happy to say at the very least lol but let’s look at the picture closer. I was NERVOUS in that moment!! I’m known to be a private person including showing public displays of affection so for this moment I had to practice lol. I remembered telling my husband “please! don’t be extra !!” I would imagine me fainting in front of everyone ( dramatic) as I walked down the aisle but the truth was everything was blurry and the only ones that were in focus was my pastor and husband. Another picture perfect!

How many times we look at a photo and feel inspired to accomplish what someone else has? Honestly I think it’s all of us which is fine but good pictures are like best friends at times. Pictures are straight to the point capturing the best moments, not showing what happens behind the scenes like the editing that needs to take place for a good picture. Just like our vision. We see the final picture and in order for us to have that perfect picture its going to require a lot of work. Distractions will come , fear may try to make your situation bigger than what it is, but stay encouraged because you’re creating your picture perfect ūüôā

Dear younger Ash, (Pt. I)

First, I have to thank my WP friend, beautybeyondbones , for inspiring me to write a letter to my younger self. Make sure to check out her page!!

Dear younger Ash,

Where do I begin? You, my friend, will come a longggg way! Let me say your confidence¬†will¬†improve. I know for the moment you think you can’t do anything without¬† your friends. Matter of fact , your first year in college you’ll be so nervous to eat by yourself in the cafeteria that some days/nights , you’ll rely on your snacks in your dorm to get you through the next day. You won’t walk with¬† your head down and you’ll recognize your unique style ,no longer following the majority.¬†The year you transfer schools, you’ll not only be changing location but it will be a complete transformation for you.

Your relationship with God will continue to get better. He’s not someone from¬†your history textbook, he’s real and will reveal himself to you on a deeper level. Now,¬†the¬†college you transfer to will not be easy. You’ll cry from the threats they will give¬†¬†when you can’t¬†afford tuition. You’ll cry from the roommates because they are the worse..except for one.¬†You’ll still have a hard time expressing yourself , walking past crowds of people to get to the library ,¬† trying to fit in, and sadly it¬†now reflects your grades.¬†However, through all of this God will be at your rescue I promise.

Lol, I know you’re like “great! now do I ever get into a true relationship with a guy?” Well , yes you do..eventually. I wish I could somehow let you know how beautiful you are.¬† Let you know you can stop flipping through the magazines to read horoscopes that will never happen. I wish I could stop you from the people you think you’re attracted to and the weird online chats. You’ll be heartbroken ..plenty of times ..but you will heal. Going through this builds character, you won’t be na√Įve , and you’ll finally meet someone who gets you. This guy loves your flaws and all, you can¬†truly be yourself¬† and he loves you .

Well, I guess that’s all I will share for now I just wanted you to get excited about your future. I’ll share more when the time is right.¬†

Untill next time,

Older Ash **

 

 

Ooh! Ooh! Pick me , pick me !!

happy_classroom

So I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been in this place before .. where we’re saying “Ooh! Ooh! pick me ! pick me !” or at least our actions demonstrated it. Maybe in your younger days you tried flagging down your teacher so you could give the correct answer or maybe it was when you were in P.E class and you didn’t want to get picked last. Well that’s the season I’m in now with job employment ….

merida-exhausted

I’ve applied to over 100+ jobs , received about 20 interviews in a year timeframe, talk about EXHAUSTING! My actions are definitely saying “Hey pick me!!” but instead its like having a teacher overlook me on purpose or the P.E teacher¬†skip over me and pick the students that’s ¬†around me . I can honestly say I’ve never been the type to give up easily. I tried out for the cheerleading team for 3 years before I got accepted , in college years I struggled financially . Reflecting on moments like those taught me there are more ways to reach your blessing once you think outside the box.¬† Now back to the show:::¬†

watching-tv

I watched how people around me got blessed with jobs, my pastor¬†encouraging¬†me every week¬†to believe in faith, but my results still the same. I started questioning myself and feeling guilty¬†after the interviews I had¬†because I ¬†would basically say how I am going to become a dentist . However, I can’t take all the credit..I think God is up to something. My intention with my current job was never to stay as long as I had and my prayer after every interview ” May the best candidate get the position, you know my purpose more than I know myself” . <-Well , I know he will surely answer prayers , that’s a definite lol ! But seriously, a lot of the jobs I applied for , in my mind I figured I would be able to apply some of it towards my overall goal . Interesting, because Isaiah 55:8-9 states “for my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways”. It’s easy to plan a goal but sometimes its not a strategic plan and we need help especially myself! I have a vision board and the jobs I applied for are nowhere near the board, I tell my fianc√© I would like to get into dental school by a certain time so how does this all come together?

th7CBI0P7I

By God’s grace. I read so many stories of successful people quitting their jobs to pursue their dreams¬†and watched my peers successfully get new¬†positions. I’ve done everything in my being to change my status¬†but God has the blueprint . Once we get to a point where its exhausting that’s when God steps in and says ” That’s good now let me take it from here” Maybe I didn’t get that full time job because God knows it would be a delay in where I need to be ..¬†To be honest this season is like an interview¬†or¬†‘prove it to me’ with God. Everything I’ve mentioned in the interviews are being¬†tested in these trial periods.He’s been¬†building my character¬†through¬†interviews, interacting with different personalities, budgeting, being¬†dependable, trustworthy,¬†and¬† etc¬† in order to be that dentist I dream about.

So if you are in my shoes now please¬†know you are not being overlooked¬†and what God has in store is bigger than what we¬† can imagine. ¬†Stay determined because we’re going to be picked soon!

raising hands.png

“I am Beautiful”

k14885514¬†Growing up I struggled with my self esteem. I would question myself with ” Why do I look this way?” or ¬†“Why they don’t think I’m attractive?” and the list continues. As my insecurities built its foundation it not only showed in my¬† behavior¬†by seeking validation but there were people that seemed to be on specific assignments to break me down . As time moved on I got to a point where I did not want to be stuck with the same mentality I had growing up. Now, I can say I have moved from that place of¬† “STUCK” and into a place of confidence.¬† Let me say¬† THIS IS A GREAT PLACE to be and if you’re not there let me tell you how I got there::

‚ô• Get out of my feelings : Sometimes the thing/ person that holds us back is ourselves. I kept recycling the negative comments over and over in my head years later and the truth was the ones that picked on me moved on with their lives ..it was me that needed to move on.

‚ô•¬† Compliment myself: The best person to compliment you first thing in the morning is yourself. I started saying declarations before I went out and interacted with people . Want an example? “Thank you God, for making me beautiful inside and out , pretty inside and out. Thank you for allowing others to notice but most importantly me.” I know it may seem weird but I promise it works! I started getting compliments out of nowhere and I knew without a doubt it was the faith I deposited into my decree every morning, spending time and building relationship with God.

‚ô• Less focus on self: It is very easy to see your flaws but sometimes can become a distraction of recognizing God’s grace . He loves us so much and to focus on our appearance all day¬† I could only imagine it probably hurts his feelings because we were created in his image. There were moments as I would get dressed and think on what I needed to accomplish at the time , God would interfere into my thoughts to say “You look beautiful daughter”.¬† Of course these are moments when I could still have a scarf or rollers in my hair! Helping other people whether its volunteering , at a store , or just giving a compliment and letting them know they look great is very beautiful.

Remember there is death and life in the power of the tongue (prov. 18:21) . So reach out to others by giving a simple compliment ūüôā

You are Beautiful!!