2016Walking Worthy: 2016

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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