Real women build each other up and cherish the community and support from each other. I have been wanting to share some of this blog space with friends….in hopes that we can learn from each other. The last Build Each Other up post was about Kiah!
Today my friend, Ashley is sharing a little bit about herself!
Life is unpredictable. I love how I have some old friends….but also love how new women enter into our lives unexpectedly. I have known Ashley for about a year and have loved getting to know her in very real and vulnerable ways! I stole this pic of her from Facebook page because a) it shows her contagious smile and b) she is looking adventurous here haha!!
Her energy seeps out onto everyone who meets her! Her words are below!
Hi my name is Ashley! I am 27 years old and I am married to a wonderful man named Shane. We have 2 dogs, Barkley the Beagle and Bailey the Golden Retriever. A few words I would use to describe myself are Christian, Army Wife, Dog Mom and Traveler. For those of you who enjoy Myers Briggs I am an ESFP. Man, I don’t know what else to say because I don’t want to give too much info away right off the bat!
What is your best memory of growing up?
My dad’s family mostly lives in Michigan so dad would take me on vacation up there as much as possible. We would go up to my aunt and uncle’s house in the middle of the woods and go canoeing down the Au Sable River. I just loved going up there because it was family I didn’t get to see often and it was always an adventure.
You never knew what you were going to see!
I remember being in the house one day and looking out the bay window to see a black bear sitting on his butt eating out of my aunt’s bird feeder about 30 feet away from me. Being in the woods and on the river was so peaceful and relaxing!
What habits or routines do you have that are working for you?
Uhm….still working on that!
I struggle with life being the same day in and day out. I have grown up being very intentional of every day being a new adventure but then I never formed any habits or routines. I read my Bible, shower, brush my teeth, “do” my hair, put clothes on and put deodorant on. That’s my “routine”. HAHA!
Do you get more energy from being with people or being alone?
I am an extrovert for sure, so being around people gives me a lot of energy!
However, if I’m in a packed room and I don’t know a single soul it is exhausting for me. But I think that is more so because I want to talk to everyone but “can’t” because it isn’t always socially acceptable just to start a new conversation. I think I fear being socially awkward, (which I am) and I just need to get over that!
Do you have any “projects” you’re working on right now?
So I recently stared using Essential Oils from Young Living. I originally thought everyone who used them was insane and making it all up, but then I tried it and oh my goodness! We are currently in the process of removing toxins from our house little by little. We are replacing a lot of the cleaning supplies in our home with the Thieves all purpose cleaner. I am so thankful for Pinterest where I can find a MILLION ideas on how to replace products such as carpet cleaners, Lysol wipes, etc. (Ok, I’ve become crunchy and I don’t even care!).
In what areas are you the most frugal? The least?
The least frugal area of my life is travel. If someone asks me to go on a vacation or trip I will find a way to make it work! I want to see the world and I want to do it with my friends! I don’t even compare pricing because I have my favorite airlines, hotels, car rentals, everything. I enjoy it and spend money like there is no tomorrow when it comes to traveling.
On the flip side of that, I am picky about how I spend money while on vacation. If we go to Michigan for a wine tour I won’t buy wine at every location. If we go to Disney I get 1 souvenir, if we go to North Carolina I eat cheap. I want to travel comfortably, but then penny pinch to make myself feel better for spending a ridiculous amount on a car, hotel or flight.
What 3 things make your house your home?
1) My puppies Barkley and Bailey! I spoil those dogs like crazy! I never had dogs growing up so every time I walk in the door and the puppies are there to greet me it just brings me so much joy!
2) Our pictures/artwork. I love the constant reminders of the places we’ve been and the people we love. I just feel like the pictures add character to the home. We have MULTIPLE signs from Board & Brush Roanoke hanging in our home that just makes our home feel like “our” home. They add to the character of our home and show who we are in the process. (Shameless plug)
3) The color blue! When we were buying our house, we looked a few and we liked them but then we saw our house and I just knew it was the one! There is something about the color blue that is calming and comforting to me. Maybe it reminds me of water or the open sky or something else but it’s just the color a home should be in my opinion. There are 3 different shades of blue in our house and each one just makes me light up!
What is your number one go-to dinner?
So I can’t make it because I’m an awful cook but my mamma’s beef stew! She makes that and blueberry muffins for all the big events in my life. High school graduation, moving to Europe, coming home from Europe, birthdays, getting married and so many more! Mom always asks what meal I want but she is grinning when she asks because she knows the answer already.
Tell me about anything God has been doing in your life lately.
I truly believe God called me to ministry when I was in 8th grade. I remember the moment so clearly. From that point on I had a one track mind, “go to college, study ministry, do youth ministry.”
That was my life plan.
What the ministry looked like changed multiple times over my life. At one point I wanted to move to the Dominican Republic to work for a mission organization. Later it was starting a mission that worked with teens that would be going to detention centers and instead bringing them to a farm and having them work with animals while also providing spiritual guidance. After that I had an amazing experience working with the military and doing youth ministry. I thought that is where God was calling me, and unfortunately that door shut. Not long after my dream job no longer existed I had the opportunity to work at a church doing youth ministry. It was a wonderful experience and I’m so thankful for my time there.
However, I am no longer in that position. I think it was a great opportunity for me, but God has something else for me. The hard lesson I’m learning right now is that I don’t have to be in vocational ministry in order to “do” ministry. I had never considered the idea that God was calling me to volunteer or help out from time to time. I always thought I had to be doing full time ministry or I was disappointing God. I think for me right now, the big lesson is God loves me no matter my job title.
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) includes these words: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
It doesn’t say “if you are in ministry do this” or “only those who went to college for this can do this”. No, it’s a commission that Jesus gave to his followers. We are all supposed to do that. What if the disciples never shared their experiences with Jesus? We wouldn’t know who He is today. If we leave it up to the people who get paid to talk about Jesus to share the Gospel, we aren’t doing what Jesus has asked of us.
I don’t have to get paid to do ministry in order to do ministry.
I was at a conference in April where a Pastor shared that every time he goes to Starbucks he asks the barista “how can I pray for you?” One day he was sitting at a table reading and the manager brought him out a coffee and said it was on the house. The pastor said thank you and then continued to ask “why?” The manager responded with, “You are the person who has influenced this place the most. You have changed the environment of this work place and this is my way of saying thank you.” No one in that coffee shop even knows that man is a pastor. Not that he is hiding his work, he just knows his title doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of it all. He is introducing people to Jesus in such a simple and yet life changing way.
That’s what I want. I don’t want to feel like telling people about Jesus is my job. I want it to be my passion. Jesus wants me to tell people about Him whether I get paid for it or not. (Side note: This is not meant to be a bash on Pastors or those who are paid to do ministry. I TRULY believe their roles are important and that God is using them to do amazing things. Please continue to support your Pastor and the missionaries you know of. This is simply my journey of realizing ministry happens outside of a ministry job).
Oh goodness, I loved reading all of this and am amazed at how much I still don’t know about so many friends or family members! How did I NOT know that Ashley has a love for blue?!?
I can’t wait to get the next “interview” set up!
Thanks for sharing Ashley…I love you friend!