Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Because I was thinking...

I haven't been here in a very long while.  And I didn't plan on coming here today at all... But, I left my devotional journal at home and FB is not really my first choice for confession, so, well... here I am.


Fact of the day: I have no idea what my "calling" is.  Meanwhile, I see so many of my friends fully becoming who they were created to be.  Some have natural abilities like singing, songwriting, art...  Some are incredible athletes.  Some of them with their exuberant and assertive personalities (along with killer looks), coupled with law degrees and PhDs are certain to be future political leaders of America.

And then there's me.  I have no notable talents.  I can hold a note, but I'm no soloist.  I was a high school cheerleader but Mississippi doesn't have a professional sport's team and I don't think I'd make the Dallas Cowboy's cheerleader cut.  I am introverted and easily exhausted by interactions with others.  I won't scare small children in the morning, but I'm no model. I am passionate yet impatient, loving yet fickle.  I am led almost exclusively by my emotions, much to my detriment.

But, BUT, thank God there is a BUT.  I am generous. I am genuine.  I am thoughtful- in that I am a deep thinker.  I am tolerant in the most unexpected circumstances.  I am patient with the most undeserving.  My life is held together by God's grace alone.  I am honest, painfully so, in my self reflection.  I am unnervingly transparent.

I am me. And with every passing moment of reflection and revelation, I become more me.  And because I believe that life is a conscious, on-purpose, act of God, I know that He is using me. Somehow, someway, I am making a difference.  I don't know how. I don't know when. But every breath that I breathe is confirmation that I have either accomplished or am on my way to accomplishing some unique and necessary task that He assigned specifically to me.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

...And now, I'm ready to be a mother.

My best friend in the whole world is pregnant, y'all! I got the call this morning- she said, "Guess who's gonna be an auntie!" I immediately asked her who her little brother had gotten pregnant?! Apparently, her dad asked the same thing! But it was her! And I'm going to be an auntie! And guess what? I'm going to be the best auntie in the whole world (until my actual sister has a kid- then I'll be the greatest auntie in the universe!)!  I was truly overjoyed- I don't remember the last time I cried tears of pure happiness.  Something else I felt though, was love.  Not love for my friend- I mean I adore her, of course- but the love I felt was for her unborn child.  Never before had I felt anything like it, but I feel in love with that little person the moment my mind wrapped around its existence.  I pray above all that she has a healthy baby, but I have to be honest, I do hope it's a little girl-  A fat little ball of chocolate with bushy hair that I can shower with love, affection, kisses, and hugs! I can not wait to meet this kid- you guys have no idea! But as my title says, it wasn't until this moment that I honestly, and truly wanted to be a mother. No longer scared, no longer fearful...I can't wait for the moment that I can call my closest family and friends, giddy and full of excitement, to say "Guess who's having a BABY!!!!"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I can't control my emotions...and I love it.

I know, I've been gone for some time now... And after this, I'm not sure when or if I'll be back, but I just needed to express something.

My dad's twin brother died 5 years ago. Suddenly. It was the hardest loss my dad's side of the family had endured in over 15 years.  There had been deaths- but none had affected us in such a way since we lost my grandfather.  Well, today while Facebook crawling, I clicked on a video link of my cousin (my uncle's son) playing an original piece of music on his guitar.  Just two minutes of the sight and sound of him brought back memories and emotions I forgot I had. It was beautiful. And bittersweet. Soothing and stabbing to my ears all at the same time.

Teary-eyed and filled with sweet grief, I thought about how amazing God must be. Life is amazing and the moments life can create are simply breathtaking.

Today I was simultaneously overcome with love, sadness, joy, regret, peace, hope...the entire rainbow of emotions- I felt them all. And it was truly breathtaking.

That small glimpse of my uncle through my cousin's hands is a priceless gift I will treasure and revisit forever.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cause err'day is a day of Thanksgiving

"The gift of life is life itself."

*Some of the sweetest ladies I know are carrying lives  inside of them at this very moment- Congrats!!!*

I have this really bad habit of treating some days better than others. Whether it's the way I dress, or what tasks I chose to take on for the day, I treat some days as throw-away days and spend hours willing the time away. And that's horrible. I was going to treat today as one of those days. I'm flying out of town tomorrow and today was going to be spent focusing on getting ready, tying up loose ends, and packing. I just hired an assistant and today is her first day, so I was also going to have to put some time into orientating her. *deep sigh* My plan was to treat today as my Friday, throw on some jeans, and stow away in my office until 4:35.

But as I pulled my hair up into the rather substantial ponytail that it's become, I thought to myself, today is a brand new day, the entirety of which has not been promised to me...a new day with fresh grace and mercy, full of possibilities. So, instead of throwing on my university t-shirt and Toms, I swiped on some shadow and blush,  grabbed my brand new pink blazer out of my closet, pulled on my black skinnies and heels,  and Naomi Campbell-ed out the door.

I've really got to do better.  Every single breath is a gift. Everyday is a chance for a miracle. Every Walgreens run in is an opportunity to fall in love. Every chat with the boss is precursor to a promotion.

Happy Monday!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

When to judge a book by its cover...

His name is probably Jesse...
So let me tell you what happened to me today...

Last week, I got a crack in my windshield.  I let it linger but today decided it was time to get it fixed before it spread. I called my dad and asked him where to go. He then called our insurance provider and they connected us with a glass doctor who could come out to my job. Well anyway, I talked to the owner of the company who takes my number and informs me that the technician will call me when he's own his way.

At around lunchtime, I get a call from the tech. No joke, the conversation went like this. And please imagine that the setting for this convo is in a dark night club after about the fifth drink and just pretend that I've been eyeing this guy the whole night because he was talking to me as if to say, "your place or mine?"

Me: Hello
Tech: (in what I'm assuming is his sexy nighttime voice) Yesss... Hi. I'm calling for um, Ashley. A Ms. Ashley...
Me: This is she.
Tech: Ah yes, Ms. Ashley...heyyy, how you doing?  This is Jesse. Where are you going to be in around 45 minutes to an hour- better yet, where are you located now?
Me: *holding back a laugh* I'm actually at lunch but I'll- is this the glass doctor?
Tech named Jesse: Oh *insert pimp laugh* yes, yes.
Me: Ok, Jesse. I'll be back at work by then. Just call me when you're at my building.
Tech named Jesse: Okay, okay. Right, right.
Me: *hangs up phone*

Fast forward 45 minutes to an hour, Jesse rolls up looking dusty but potentially cute underneath the dirt and work wear.  From our phone conversation, he was just what I expected... He fixes the crack he came for along with one that a previous technician claimed couldn't be fixed, "on the house," he said. He wrapped up and I asked him if he needed anything else from me.

Tech named Jesse: *looks around at tools* Ummmm, Nah, I don't need- well, I mean you could go to dinner with a brotha.
Me: *blank stare*
Tech named Jesse: *insert nervous pimp laugh*

I considered many things in the 10 seconds it took me to answer him. First of all, Jesse was not my type, but underneath all the dust, he was cute. He was dressed pretty rough, but I told myself he just didn't want to get his regular clothes dirty. It was a fair assumption that he was not as educated or employed as well as me BUT, here was a "brotha" trying to make an honest living. Also, he was completely different from the other guys I've dated, and well, you know that saying about the definition of insanity...  Finally, he was bold enough to ask me out in front of some rather snobby looking characters also in the parking lot... So I said...

Me: Um Jesse, *laugh* you already have my number sooo... Have a good afternoon, okay!

I walked back to my office smiling, glad to know I had done my "brotha" a solid in the midst of those disapproving  eyes and for not turning my nose up at someone who I most definitely would have in the past.  Whether it was desperation or growth, I thought to myself, who knows? He could be my Idris Elba a la Daddy's Little Girls.

Then I got the following text a couple hours later.

I kno u at work but call me as well. Lok my number n under boo. N tex or call me whenever n what ever time u feel. I hope we hook up n kik it.

*deep sigh*

I can only blame myself. I'll be mass texting you all my new number soon.

Monday, November 26, 2012

And good tidings of comfort and joy...

'Tis the season, y'all!!! Can you feel it?! I can! I hope your Thanksgiving was super amazing- mine was!  I spent the entire break with those nearest and dearest to me and it was wonderful.  Whether it's the family you were born with or the family that you've made, there's nothing more important than spending time with the ones you love.  Everything else comes second- there are no exceptions.

Speaking of family, I hope you consider Jesus as a part of your family. At the least, you should know that He considers you part of His. Let me explain...

I met a man yesterday. He works with my father. He came over to our table during our after-service meal.  He was there with his family.  My dad introduced him as Dr. So-and-so.  He was tall, lanky, and looked extremely sedated.  He had this weird look on his face that never disappeared during the entire seven minutes he stood over us talking, as if he had not a care in the world.  When he finally left, we all looked around each dad nervously laughed. And then I realized what struck me about the guy. That weird look on his- a SMILE! His sedation? It was really just a quiet, lingering happiness. That man had joy.  I was amazed and deeply saddened at the same time at the realization that what I just saw in this man was something of a unicorn in my own life.  Where was my joy? Where is my family's joy? How can a family of Believers not experience this constantly and consistently. Better yet, how can we make people think the same thing when we leave their presence?

I had already acknowledged the self-fabricated lack in my life.I have been on a decline for some time now. No matter how God blessed me, no matter how well my life was going, it was never enough.  I was filled with fear and loathing, regret and anxiety...worry. I had completely let go of God's hand and had begin traveling through my life alone. because the transition was so gradual- I mean this happened over the course of years- I didn't realize it until it was almost too late. I looked around one day and saw myself in the middle of a dense forest. Alone. No sunlight breaking through the trees.No wind blowing. Just me and darkness. Me and the devil.  Because he had me where he wanted me, there was no need to attack. He knew as long as I was wandering around aimlessly that I was no help to God and no threat to him. Well, I am now in a full on sprint back to my God's arms. I see Him, and I see He never took His eyes off of me.  It was only me that had taken my eyes off of Him. He was right where I left Him, watching...and continuously providing an unseen protection. He had placed an invisible hedge around me. I am His, and He wanted me to survive. He wanted me to be okay. He wanted me to on my own remember His love for me. He waited patiently for me to return to Him, and to love Him back.

He is waiting patiently for us all to return to Him.  He loves us. It breaks His heart when we forget Him, when we claim to not know Him- REALLY know Him.  It angers Him how we persecute each other in His name.  God is love. He loves the black, the white. The gay, the straight. The believer, and the unbeliever. He hates our sin because it destroys that which He loves the most- US!

Remembering these things reignited a small fire in me that grows with each passing moment. The more it grows, the greater my glow. The closer I get to God, to Jesus, the closer my joy gets to me.

I don't know what you believe in but I have to tell you, God believes in you. If you don't love Him, just know He loves you.

My alma mater and current employer has had this running theme/saying all football season- "We Believe."  Our team has pretty much sucked the past several years, but this year, the team seemed to have a new fight in them and the fans rallied around them posting "We Believe" signs all over the country.  We Believed all the way through our defeat at the hands of the no. 1 ranked team. We Believed as we lost the next two games straight.  We continued to believe as we lost for the first time in three years to our most hated rival, ending our regular season on a sour note.  We continue to believe in an upcoming bowl victory- something we have not been able to look forward to in years. If hundreds of thousands of people can have that sort of belief in a team of young men, with a less than stellar record, and a fluke of winning season that we'll gladly take, How can I not wholeheartedly believe in the God that I have truly seen and felt in every sunrise, every breeze, every breath, every heartbeat! But this is my testimony. You have your own. We all have to find our own way in this life and work out our own soul's salvation.  We all have to find our purpose.  We all have to help.  We all have to serve. Whatever good is in our ability to do, we must do it!  I'm inspired by so many people- those who claim Jesus, and those who don't. I've learned so much from those who simply believe in the power of yoga, chanting to Buddha, or just sending out "good vibes".  Whatever it is, I want YOU to know that I believe that every good and perfect thing comes from above, from the father of lights. I want YOU to know that I see God in you.

Be blessed this season, this year, this lifetime! And bless others along your way. Show love, show grace. Offer compassion and understanding. And know that in doing these things, in being kind to His people, in making someone feel better, you ARE a friend of God.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Office potluck? Oh joy...

Ok, so I fake the funk pretty well, but at the end of the day I DON'T. LIKE. PEOPLE.  I like my friends and family. But just random people in general? I'll pass.  Thing I miss most about my previous jobs is that because I was in a central university office, the only people I had to deal with outside of the faculty I assisted were my actual in-office coworkers.  If we went to lunch, cool. If not, no biggie. But at least I got to know most of them pretty well, some became friends, and a few I consider  family. But now that I work for a particular college within the university, I'm expected to become apart of this college's community.  So, instead of just socializing with my coworkers and boss, I have to form relationships with ALL the offices within the college, ALL the faculty... even the dean regularly drops by my office to cross his legs and take a load off. *cringe* Good grief.  While some people embrace the thought of emerging themselves into the system, I loathe it. And what do I loathe more than random faculty referring to me as kiddo while inquiring who sent the flowers on my desk? Eating with strangers, that's what.  I ABSOLUTELY hate it.  For me, eating is an intimate pleasure and the more pleasant the experience, the better my digestion. Eating should be accompanied by unforced and easy flowing, LIGHT conversation.  I HATE business lunches/dinners- I can't think about how good my food tastes if I'm focused on trying to craft intelligent responses.  I hate "official" office lunches as it is inevitable that the entire lunch will be filled with work chatter. IF I JUST LEFT FROM WORKING WITH YOU, I DO NOT WANT TO SPEND MY ONE BREAK OF THE DAY EATING WITH YOU AND TALKING ABOUT THE WORK I JUST RAN AWAY FROM. Finally, for this post anyway, more than anything, I just really hate schmoozing.  I consider this to be everything from making clever jokes with the random business manager you correspond with, to grinning through the terribly unfunny jokes of your boss' boss, to pretending like you actually give two shits about the mission of your organization and whether or not it accomplishes all its goals for the current fiscal year.  I do not give two shits.  They don't pay me enough to.  They pay me just enough to give a shit about whether or not I'm doing enough work in order for them to keep paying me.  That it is it.  I just want to come to work, do my job well, and leave.  I want to take my lunch break as an opportunity to divorce myself as much as I can from my 8-5 in an hour and a half's worth time.  But for some reason, people who live to work decided that people who spend 8 hours a day together don't spend nearly enough time socializing and getting to know one another.  Why not put that hour of freedom to good use and force everyone to continue talking about that killer budget together over strange looking, unidentifiable dishes made by that "crazy cat lady" administrative assistant who doesn't wash her hands after using the bathroom? Yep, that sounds like the best idea ever to me!