Walking Worthy

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Announcing Baby Garcia

If you follow me on social media this is not new news to you….

Baby Garcia is making his or her debut in August of 2016!

My husband and I are so excited that our family is growing.

How are you feeling physically?
Mostly I feel really good. I am blessed so far by an easy pregnancy. During the first trimester I was so exhausted I never wanted to get out of bed. I never had terrible morning sickness, but I could be sick any time of the day if I didn’t eat every two or three hours. 

Now that I am in the second trimester the exhaustion is leveling off. Although I wouldn’t say it’s gone away entirely. With work and ministry I have a pretty active life and I’m learning I can’t go quite as fast as I did previously. Baby is growing and so is my belly. With that has come changes in my sleep and the addition of some pillows to the bed. I pee a lot and sometimes make multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I’m not longer feel sick if I don't eat and my hunger is increasing.

Where are you at mentally?
I feel like I have been riding a roller coaster of joy and fear. Initially I was freaked out. While we were trying to have a baby, we weren’t trying for very long and I was a little thrown off guard it happened so fast. I wrestled with guilt over my close friends who are trying to have a baby and can’t get pregnant. I dealt with shame over feeling guilty and being freaked out. In the first trimester I was constantly afraid I was going to lose the baby. The Lord used my fear to get ahold of me hard. “Ashlee, you can’t control anything, not even this. Your fear does not keep anything from happening. You are going to have to trust Me so hard with this baby, so you better get on board girl” are just a few promptings the Lord placed in my heart.

Now in the second trimester I’m dealing with the changes happening in my body and it’s much harder than I want to acknowledge. Eating healthy while gaining weight is messing with my head. Yep I will say it: I take too much pride and find too much identity in how I physically look. Let’s just say that’s a really hard pill to swallow. I watch my emotions swing back and forth, but mostly I struggle with having a short temper. Things get under my skin that typically wouldn’t and I have a hard time letting them go.

What are you eating?
In the first trimester I quit meal planning. It was impossible to know what I would be hungry for or what I could eat in the coming week. So I just gave myself a lot of grace. I was mostly hungry for creamy or bland food.

Plain eggs taste terrible, but I can still eat them as long at they are mixed with something else. I eat a lot of homemade omelets and breakfast tacos with corn tortillas.

Coffee tastes terrible, so I cut it out altogether. Soda gives me headaches, so I don’t indulge in the occasional soda. I pretty much only drink water with the exception of Peppermint and Rooibos tea in the mornings.

I can’t stand BBQ and Shrimp. Two things that I typically love. With BBQ I can’t stand the smoked meat smell or the taste of smoked meal or BBQ sauce.

I crave a lot of salad, so I eat salad pretty much every day at lunch. The tangier the dressing the better. 

My other cravings are not so healthy: Panda Express cream cheese ragoons, Fruity Pebbles, Taco Bell bean and cheese burritos (no onions) with mild sauce, strawberry glazed donuts (no sprinkles). Tangy foods seem to be my favorite though. 

In the second trimester I hit what  I call “eat all the things” stage. My hunger is increasing and I eat at least 5 meals a day (3 meals and 2 snacks). I am working to make sure I am getting enough of the right kind of foods. I’m hungry for food with lots of flavor which is such a contrast to the first trimester.

Prayers and Praises:
Case de Garcia: We are house hunting and it’s incredibly discouraging. It’s a seller’s market where we live and the houses coming on the market are few. Please lift us up as we search out a home for our family.

Weight Gain Struggle: I know I’m supposed to gain weight. I know that’s a good thing. But it continues to be a struggle in the way I view myself. Some days are much harder than others!!

My friends who are struggling to have a baby: I have a few friends that I am really close with that are currently wrestling with desiring a baby, but being unable to get pregnant. My heart is so broken for these friends.

Baby G is healthy and growing: can’t tell you how relieved I was to make it out of the first trimester. I’ve had so many friends who have experienced miscarriages and who are struggling with infertility that I was so grateful to hit that milestone!
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Real Righteousness: A Lesson from Israel

I hear stirring around me. The opening and closing of the overhead bins. Unsure of the time I raise my inconspicuous hot pink eye mask and take in the scene around me. My husband sits next to me. Our 10 day tour of Israel begins today as we land in Tel Aviv.  I look around I notice many of the Orthodox Jewish men up and about in the cabin. They are pulling out their hats, phylacteries, Torahs, and prayer shawls for morning prayer. Naively never seeing an Orthodox Jew in person I cannot stop watching them. 
Sensing the Lord asking me to pay attention. Feeling like I am staring with a purpose I continue to watch the men as they find spots throughout the cabin, wrap themselves in their prayer shawls and begin praying. Their phylacteries are on their foreheads and their arms. They hold the Torah and rock front to back and recite their prayers in Hebrew. All around the plane every Orthodox Jewish man is praying or preparing to pray.  I soak it in as Matthew 5:20 comes to the forefront of my mind “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” As I continue to take in the scene the Spirit prompts me that the Lord is giving me a real life word picture of the scribes and Pharisees. I think “this is what empty religion looks like.” I’m startled by the bluntness of my thought.
You see, the Scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders of their day. They did all the right and religious things, yet they missed the biggest part: faith in Jesus as the Messiah. As I carry on watching the men my heart sinks.  I realize their outward religious is hopeless without Christ. These men praying their good yet rote prayers have no hope apart from Christ.
I continue to look around. Through the seat in front of me I see my friend sitting by the window with her Bible open. She is no different in practicing her religious duties, but something is obviously different: her heart.
It’s the heart that matters with righteousness, not just the outward action. Jesus tells the people the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount as He ushers in a new way of thinking regarding the heart in the midst of the action. The only way our righteousness can surpass that of the scribes and the Pharisees is to have a heart that is fully sold out to Jesus. In turn a heart dedicated to Jesus compels us to live our life in a way that looks like Christ.
I look around the cabin again, realizing this is just the beginning of things the Lord is going to show me. I realize how dry my own heart is and how desperately I need this time in the Land. I realize that this trip is a gift from the Lord in so many ways and for the first time in quite a while I am grateful to just sit and soak up things with the Lord. I realize how much I miss that sweetness that comes with walking close with Jesus and I remember the trip has just begun and there is so much more for me to learn.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Walking Worthy

Who am I? Why do I write? What is my purpose here? These are questions I have been wrestling with for some time now on this blog.

I never forget the day I realized I was having an identity crisis. I was a senior in college getting ready to graduate and I had no clue what I wanted to do in life and I realized my identity had been wrapped up in things that were not based on Christ.

That time in my life was more painful than I would like to admit to anyone. A year of what should have been celebration was filled with hurt and pain and depression.

But GOD. (It's one of my favorite phrases in the Bible, because it means He is about to do something incredible)

Oh the sweetness of a God who would pursue me while I was in the pit of despair. He wrapped me up and taught me what it meant to pursue Him, live for Him, and walk in a manner worthy of Him.

That is my daily pursuit to walk in a manner worthy of Christ. I want that to translate here on my blog and recently I have felt so lost in what to write. At times I have felt I had nothing to say.

Today I am reminded of my pursuit of Christ. If I would simply take a moment and realize I can't pursue anything other than Him. I must follow Him daily in the big and small things. So it looks like things are about to change around here. The content of what I write is going to focus on the pursuit of Christ in the everyday. We don't need more Christian writers pursuing themselves or fame and glory. We need someone to stand up and walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. That is what makes my heart beat.

I would love for you to join me. Maybe you are like me and you have felt lost in this world that tells you to pursue fame and glory. You are confused by the message that you must strive to be known and be the next big thing. Come with me as we look at what it means to pursue Christ daily in a quite practical way. What does it look like to be a follower of Christ in a world that tells you to strive after yourself. Spoiler Alert: that doesn't mean you can't be famous, but it is all about what you do with what you have been given.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

DIY Fall Pumpkins

All the DIY pumpkins have caught my eye on Pinterest. What about you? I just fell in love with the sweater and velvet pumpkins I was seeing. And all I could think of was…I CAN DO THAT.

Please note. I cannot sew well. I DO NOT own a sewing machine. I took one mother/daughter sewing class in 4-H and my mom and I almost killed each other trying to make an apron. It was ugly folks. I DO however own a sewing kit. It has some basic thread, needles, scissors, etc.

Like any good DIYer I searched and hunted on Pinterest. I looked at all the tutorials and decided I could make these pumpkins. I may not be able to sew, but I could conquer these pumpkins….

I settled on two styles of pumpkins: the kind made from a recycled sweater and the kind that require super basic sewing (because I own a sewing kit you know). I headed out and gathered my supplies

Sweater from a thrift store
2 yards of dark gray corduroy with gold polka dots
Sewing kit
Wrapped wire (similar)

Making the Pumpkins
With the sweater pumpkins I followed this tutorial found on StoneGable. This was VERY easy. The hardest part was cutting up my sweater because it was so thick. One sweater made 4 pumpkins.
With my corduroy pumpkins I modified a tutorial I found on Masion de Pax. The modification I made was instead of sewing at the very end, I sewed each pumpkin about an inch from the edge giving me more of a little purse.

Making Pumpkin Stems
When I did my Pinterest search I found there were many ways people were making pumpkin stems. I wanted a more rustic look so I took three different approaches.

Wrapped Wire Stem
After closing off the my pumpkins either with twine or my sewing my little purse together I started at the bottom and wrapped up to form a faux stem.

Folded Sweater Stem
Some pieces of sweater that had a finished sleeve cuff. With those pieces I folded the edge over and then tied a piece of wrapped wire  around the base to hold the fold in place. I then made small curls out of the excess wrapped wire.

Rustic Rough Stem: 
Some pumpkins I left rough looking like a little purse. I tied wrapped wire around the base of the stem and made small curls with the excess.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

He Can Move Mountains

It seems we have seasons of strife and victory. Seasons of waiting and watching God move mountains. I’m sitting in a season somewhere in the middle. There are things I am waiting and praying and begging the Lord to move in all the while watching Him perform some mountain moving stuff. 

I’m watching people bend over backward and give in amazing and generous ways toward one of my girls. She is going on a nine month mission trip and has been raising support for her trip. A trip that  is now fully funded.

I’m seeing the Lord provide for my husband and I to go on a trip this fall. It's a trip of a lifetime...And someone else provided for us to go. It's not anything I ever would have asked God to do. Yet He did it anyway.

I’m witnessing God bring down walls and heal my friend's heart that has been broken for so long. She wondered if she would ever see victory. We are celebrating the ways the Lord is finally healing her heart. It’s beautiful.

In a season of victories I gain hope for the strife.  God reminds me He is so very capable of providing in ways I would have never dreamed or even asked. He is challenging me not to doubt Him with my needs. He proves Himself faithful time and time again.

My hope is resurrected for the friends with still broken hearts. As I watch Him move mountains my faith grows for the unanswered prayers. God reminds me that He is faithful to move and stir. He shows me there is beauty and purpose in the time of waiting and seeking. That EVERYTHING He does is intentional.

Maybe you are in the victory. Maybe you are in the strife. Find HOPE that God is faithful. He hears our cries. He is at work even in the wait. Keep trusting and hoping in Him. Don’t try to fix the strife, wait for Him to move. He is faithful to do the work, to move on our behalf, to stir in hopeless situations. He is the God who can do anything. Nothing is impossible with Him!

Photo Credit: Dino Olivieri
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5 Lessons for Leaders of the New Senior Class

It’s that time again in college ministry. High school students walk across the platform and become college students. I had flash backs recently as I spoke with a friend graduating a group of girls into college ministry. Just two years ago I was in her shoes and I’m sharing 5 lessons for the leaders of the New Senior Class (aka things I wish someone told me).

1. Don’t Allow Group Opposition
This one I learned the hard way. As a student ministry leader my small group girls didn’t get along with the other group of girls in their grade. I unknowingly bred disconnect and dislike between the two groups. It didn’t occur to me they would become one group when they graduated. As a result our college ministry suffered. Student leaders…please don’t allow and participate in the clashing of small groups. Please look forward. When we allow opposition to grow we hurt the future of their participation in the body of Jesus. There are no sides in the body of Christ, we are all on the same team. Let’s act like it.

2. Help them Connect to the College Ministry
Do your students know their college minister? Do you know your college minister? Have you ever stepped foot into your college ministry? Help your students connect with the college ministry in your church. Take them to your college ministry’s weekly service, introduce them to the college minister, invite the college ministry to participate in Senior activities. Do whatever you can as a leader to help them connect NOW before it’s too late. I know, you have so little time with them and you want it all for yourself. (I GET THAT) But invite your college ministry leaders into the lives of your students and help your students connect with them.

3. Speak Well of Your College Ministry
It amazes me how much students pick up on our words and attitude. Do you set your college ministry up for failure because of what you say, act or treat the college ministry? Are you critical? Or do you speak praise and encouragement? Remember, your words will fall flat if your attitude is wrong. Students know how you really feel about a person or a ministry.  Be intentional to speak well of your college ministry (and MEAN IT).

4. Promote Early
This is SO BIG. If you promote in August, you leave one or two weeks for the college ministry to invest in your students before they leave for school. By promoting early in the summer (by June 1st) you enable your students to plug in early while the senior class is still together. You create opportunities for the college ministry to connect with them. You may not be the person who makes the decision for when your students promote, but you can speak on their behalf and help create change in this area. Promote your students as soon as they graduate….it makes a HUGE difference.

5. We Care about Your Students Too
I know how much you care about your kids. I cried my last Sunday with my small group (knowing I would see them the next week in college ministry).  Know that we love your kids too. We want to grow with them and walk with them as they pursue Jesus. I know how hard it is to let go. I still squeal every time one of my small group girls walks in the door (because they never stop being yours).  We are here and ready to invest in your students, so trust us knowing we truly care for them and cannot wait to know them better.

Photo Credit: Jessle Johnson
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Costume Jewelry Corsage

This Sunday will be my mom’s first Mother’s Day without her mom. I wanted to do something special to honor my Mom and my Grandmother. As a little girl, every Mother's Day Dad and I bought my Mom a corsage to wear to church (anyone else do this? Or is that just a small town thing?). My Costume Jewelry Corsage is a nod to a tradition in our family and a way to honor my Grandmother this Mother's Day.
In January when our family gathered for my grandmother’s memorial we went through all of my grandmother’s jewelry. After everyone had been through the jewelry and picked out what they really wanted I quietly gathered some clip on earrings into a bag knowing I wanted to do something special for my mom.

At first I thought I wanted to create an art piece for her using the earrings, but then I had this idea to create a Mother’s Day Corsage. Like all crafty people I thought my idea was totally new and I would create something no one else had ever seen (that was short lived with one Pinterest search).

I pinned several ideas, bought supplies and got to work.


I wired each earring with floral wire being careful to leave a long tail (4-6 inches).

I took all my items and began playing with different ideas. But I didn’t like it. It wasn’t what I wanted. It was flat and one dimensional (and not very good looking).

After 30 minutes of playing and not liking what I was seeing I asking my friend Michelle if she would help me. (Never be afraid to call in a creative friend) Michelle helped me get past my crafting block and press on. We took all the pieces apart and grouped and wrapped them together.
We started with the burlap leaves and single fabric flower (I bought these in the wedding section of Hobby Lobby. They were already on wire.) Then we began pulling in the earrings. I loved where it was heading, but wanted to incorporate more.

I attached another fabric piece (which I bought in the sale section of Hobby Lobby) using my trusty glue gun and then wrapped in more of the earrings.
When I knew I was finished I wrapped the stem up as tight as I could (still making it look corsage like) and used some pliers to push down any ends of wire. I wrapped the stem with lace ribbon to give it a finished look and attached a pin back to the back on the corsage.
I packed my corsage in a corsage box, with a burlap cut out and more lace ribbon and sent the corsage off to my mom for Mother’s Day.

Mom- I love you!! Thank you for being such a great example to me, for loving me, pushing me, and showing me how to serve God and serve people!  

I've Linked up with Skip to My Lou  and Tatertots and Jello on this post. 
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