Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Over!!! ...Or Is It? Day 30

My, how time has flown! Today is Thursday, September 30, meaning it's the last day of September, meaning it's the official last day of my fast food and Facebook fast. Let's recap on how it went.


Some days it was easy.
Some days it was hard.
I don't really miss Facebook.
I miss fast food like crazy (especially Checkers).
I've saved money by planning to eat food in advance instead of stopping by BK in my rush.
I've saved time/used time better by not having Facebook as a distraction/time-waster. 


There you have it, folks! I'm not sure whether or not I'll be back on Facebook yet or not. There are people on my university campus I could probably reach better through Facebook, but we shall see. As far as fast food is concerned, this month has been a good exercise in discipline for me, as well as watching my funds. (Which is why it's pretty cool that the Walking Worthy young women's class at Calvary Chapel is going through the book Money and Possessions: The Quest for Contentment by Kay Arthur! Very timely. I have only been to one class so far, but I look forward to continuing to grow with these young women in the area of biblical financial stewardship.) I don't doubt that I'll be eating fast food again, I just hope to continue watching my budget and intentionally make better food choices.
Some of the ladies at the Walking Worthy young adult women's class.
Two of the ladies! And the cutie who kept getting passed around. :) 
It was her birthday the same day! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weekdays, Weeknights, Weekends

My dad, two of my brothers, one of my sisters and I went on a boat ride with my dad's coworkers! We got to see several sites in DC  from a water perspective! :) 

Joshua chillin out, maxin, relaxin all cool... :) (catch the reference? hehe)
Washington Monument

The Memorial Bridge. I've driven over it before, but it was only while riding under it in a boat that I realized that the bridge is literally a memorial!

The Kennedy Center. Lots of good times here with the Favorite.

Hanging out, enjoying the ride. Little Mister got to drive the boat for a little while. He was really enjoying that :) 

Daddy caught the "boat fever" :) 

We were over by the airport so we saw and heard lots of planes overhead.

Erin's just enjoying the ride. :)

The former Presidential yacht, the Sequoia. Pretty snazzy, eh?

Little Mister (#33) is playing freshman football at his high school! He's on offense, taking a break at his first scrimmage.

His school was the visiting team, and they definitely won, woohoo!

Helping a fellow teammate off the field.

Kinda dark, but I went to Africa Day at a friend's church. There were South African's there too, which made me happy :) It was nice to see everyone all dressed up in their country's cultural garb and hear the music and eat the food... :)

Went out to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant with a friend and fellow student from Howard U! We've been friends since freshman year. It's crazy how much time has flown by!

Yeah, we pretty much destroyed every last bite....except for what I put in my take out box, lol.

Mango juice, yummm.

I love nights out, especially when they involve friends and/or family, and food :) 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Facebook & Fast Food Free Life: Day 16

Whew, try saying that title five times fast! Hehe :)

I've gotta be honest guys, I went back on Facebook. Wait! Wait! Before you get that accusing look on your face and before I knew it! crosses your mind, let me explain. I did a presentation for my church this past Sunday on the missions trip to Cape Town, and what I didn't do before I deactivated my Facebook was go on my teammates' pages and borrow their pictures (don't worry, I had their permission!). So I signed on and got a few pictures from the trip and deactivated my Facebook profile once again. It really wasn't hard to do! Granted, I did sneak a few looks at some friends' profiles, while I was on, but I don't miss Facebook at all, to be honest.

Now about the fast food... I don't miss it that much, but I definitely do miss certain places. Like Checkers. I have been craving me some Checkers! I can't guarantee that I won't speed over there and buy a Big Buford, medium fry and medium vanilla shake as soon as October 1st hits. Yes, I already know what I want. I've been buying more foods to make at home since I've stopped eating fast food, and I try not to leave home hungry. That alone reduces the temptation to roll up to the McDonald's drive through window for a dollar fry. I hope chips don't count as fast food though, because I've discovered these Utz Sea Salt kettle chips that are amazing, especially when paired with a cold sub and a lemonade from Wawa. Yummy delicious! Don't plan on giving that up anytime soon :)

Right now it's not looking like I'll be getting Facebook back anytime soon, which is fine by me! I love the time I have on my hands and the things I'm able to get accomplished during the day, like stuff for my siblings (three of which are in high school and in need of chauffeuring), cleaning, running errands, and blogging (woohoo)! I also have no excuse (not like I did before..) for not spending time with Jesus, both in the Word and in prayer during the day. There's really nothing like sitting at His feet, listening to Him speak, then going and doing what He says--and not being rushed because of a (seeming) lack of time! Life is good. Definitely not easy, but as I read in my Word today, any light afflictions that I face are not only momentary, but they are also working for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight in glory as I spend less time focusing on the seen and temporal things and more time focusing on the unseen and eternal things of Christ! (see 2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Have there been any things in your life, either past or present, that you've been led to give up? If so, how have you dealt with the absence of that thing in your life? Did you replace it with anything? For example, when I want to spend time online, I'll read more blogs or go on Hulu (every now and then), which I didn't do much of before deactivating my Facebook! Or I'll just not get online at all, and I'll read, clean, or nap. Hehe. But enough about me! I'd love to hear your stories. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Life Poured Out

Tonight I was greatly blessed and moved by a blog I read about a ministry outreach to orphans in Uganda. Moved is actually an understatement. Heartbroken and nearly bawling my eyes out is slightly more accurate. As I read through different posts and saw various pictures, I really felt like I was getting a really good depiction of biblical womanhood:  a young woman who's life was being completely poured out as she let go of her own life in order to show the love of Jesus Christ. (Kinda makes me think of Vibia Perpetua...)

I was about to close the tab where the blog was located when I suddenly stopped. Would this be it for me? Would I be one of the people who sees the needs of those who Jesus had the greatest heart for, is temporarily moved by them, and then goes to sleep in my comfortable bed, forgetting the things I have seen? I hardly believe that I happened upon this blog by chance, especially now that I feel so burdened! So I've decided to not walk away pretending I haven't seen the things I've seen, read the things I've read. It's kinda crazy/funny (okay, not funny, but yeah) that I just got back from South Africa and was more moved by the needs on a screen than the ones that were right in front of me. Granted, I was in a totally different position then. Outside of working with the children in Nkanini  (which was both heartbreaking and an incredibly beautiful and exciting blessing) I was on college campuses day in and day out, ministering to students who looked just like me, living in a place, though on a different continent, that was totally Westernized. I wasn't that much out of my comfort zone.

Children from the township Nkanini, in the city of Khayalitsha in Cape Town, South Africa. Listening to a Bible lesson we shared with them. Note: They were fascinated by the cameras. :)
I believe that living a life in full surrender to Christ is to let go of the comforts and conveniences that this world offers, counting all as loss for the sake of the gospel of Jesus. That doesn't necessarily mean that God will send all of us to third world countries where sharing the gospel will be a daily risk to our lives. But who's to say that isn't what God has for us? So often we (yes, myself including) limit the plans God has for us simply because it isn't within our realm of comprehension. But why should it be? God is wayyy more than we can wrap our minds around, so of course His plans are too awesome for us to understand completely! Yet He uses us, sinful vessels, filling us up and pouring us out if only we'll allow Him to use us to the extent that He desires:  completely.

I don't know about you, but I don't want a life that I plan out myself. I don't want a life that keeps me comfortable. I don't want a life where I'm never stretched. I don't want "the good life" that is so consumed with my little world that I miss out on the best that God has planned for me, in order to further His kingdom! I know God has me where I am right now for a reason, so all I'm trying to do right now is PRAY for those that I don't have the ability to physically reach out to at this stage of my life, and to grow and take in all the lessons God is trying to teach me, so that when He calls me to move forward into whatever He wants me to be, I'll be as ready as He wants me to be.  I greatly encourage you guys to evaluate your life right now. Are you where you want to be, or where God wants you to be? His best is better than our will ever be, and I hope that you'll seek the Father for the incredible, fulfilling life He desires to give His children.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Letting Go of the Fatty Inside Me: Day 1

Surely you've already assumed that this is about food. And you're right. And you're probably also thinking, "Ashley, you weigh barely more than a feather, so you could hardly be considered a fatty!" If only you knew how big I really am how much I eat! ESPECIALLY when it comes to fast food. From McDonalds to Checkers to Burger King to Chic-fil-A (yes, I said it. Chic-fil-a), I can throw down on a cheap (monetarily) and costly (to my health) meal at just about any fast food joint.

Now before I get too ahead of myself, let me clarify something. The fatty inside me consumes more than just food. It also consumes a ton's a hint, it also starts with an "f"! Think, think, think.... Okay, okay, I'll tell you! Facebook! I'm sure you're probably like, ummm consuming Facebook? Is it really that serious? Well, for me it is. I definitely believe there can be too much of certain good things, including Facebook. I love being updated on my friends' lives, seeing the latest pictures of what is going on in their lives, and keeping in touch with people I haven't seen in years or people too far away to keep in touch with them otherwise. What happened in my case was I began viewing too much of a world that wasn't real. Sure, life looks great when we've got our make-up on, showing our best sides, friends, family, school, and church fairly ordered and pretty close to perfect. What I've come to realize though, and what the Holy Spirit had to tell me is that by spending an inordinate amount of time on this glorified social networking site, I can lose sight of the realities of what is occurring in my own life, as well as in the lives of the people whose pages I tend to frequent. Most of the time people only show you what they want you to see. Taking this into consideration, knowing my imperfections and the things I would love to have better or changed in my life can lead me into a state of discontentment, which is not at all honoring to God.

It was more than just me consuming too much fast food and Facebook. They were consuming me! My time and energy seemed to evaporate as I made one more stop at McDonalds or checked my Facebook for the billionth time that day. God has really convicted me, and a couple Scriptures come to mind about this.
Redeeming the time because the days are evil. ~Ephesians 5:16
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. ~1 Corinthians 6:19-20
According to Blue Letter Bible, "redeeming" in this context means to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good. I have read elsewhere that it also means to take advantage of or to seize the opportunity. Time is so precious, and most of us don't realize it until we look backwards at lost time, seeing how quickly life is moving. I would hate to look back and think, Wow, I was a horrible steward of my time! I spent more time on Facebook than I did with Jesus or ministering to people or sharing the gospel! My days seem incredibly short when I spend the majority of them on the computer, and I can only wonder how much time I'll have left over with no Facebook at all.

The verse in 1 Corinthians actually deals with sexual immorality within the context, but I believe it has application to the way I eat as well! I may be skinny on the outside, but it would really suck if I (God forbid!) suffer from a heart attack at the age of 25 because my arteries are so clogged from the exorbitant amount of junk I can consume several times a day. I don't think I'm honoring God with this body He has blessed me with  by eating food that is not good for my health (bad steward of my body/health), eats up my money (bad steward of funds), and evaporates my time (bad steward of time.... Hmm, I'm seeing a stewardship theme here!) My new life was paid for in the death of Christ, and since I'm no longer my own, I can hardly consider it only my business how I take care of myself. The Spirit lives inside me!

Anyways, let me stop being long-winded and get to the point. Remember when I had a fast food fast back in December? Well I'm having another one, but this time I'm adding Facebook to the fast! I deactivated it around 12:01 AM today, and it's like a weight is off. (Interesting, huh?) As of right now, I feel no compulsion to go back to it at month's end, but we'll see. Fast food is a different story, hehe. I'm definitely giving myself an opportunity to let the self-control fruit of the Spirit begin to flourish. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!