Saturday, May 28, 2016

Dear Phoenix

I've been reading through Psalms this year, and it talks a lot about rehearsing all the great things God has done for you. And since we're heading out of Phoenix today, I figured it would be a great time to sit down and think over everything the God has brought me through and taught me in Phoenix (even though I wrote this like 2 weeks ago...).

Dear Phoenix:

When we first got here, I hated you. In fact, I hated you for about two or three years. And I had some pretty good reasons. Growing up in Virginia where there's a lot of trees and ya know east coast vegetation, I thought you were the ugliest thing I had ever seen. Virginia had eight Presidents. Arizona had none. (Although I was probably John McCain's strongest 10 year old campaigner. Smh fifth grader Ashley) Phoenix was hot and the grass in my backyard was so dry and spiky it cut my feet. (Literally. This is not hyperbole.) I also had no friends that first summer. When your parents are youth pastors, all your friends are in church, but when you're starting a church from scratch, there's not really anyone.

As I grew older, I learned to love you more. Sure it was hot, but I learned to swim, and rain is always fun. I don't think my attitude toward you suddenly changed, but eventually I realized just how beautiful you as a city and Arizona as a whole were. There are giant mountains, red rocks, snow, rivers, canals, and just everything!

Although many of my friends through the years have physically moved, I've had constant friends. The people I thought would always be there. The people who I said "God you can take anybody, but leave me them!" But they left. It was hard. I cried. A lot. But it got better. I still miss them, but it doesn't hurt as bad anymore. God really taught me about his love, care, and sovereignty through those times. He also gave me some of my closest friends through them!

God has provided so much for us here. There were all the church buildings, the church members, the friends, the houses, more than we could have hoped! God has done for us "above all that I could ask or think" in this city! It will be a little strange not having a direct part of my dad's job like I did when he was a pastor. Ya know, kids class teacher, nursery worker, pianist, etc. I'm so glad that my parents showed me at a young age how rewarding, and yes, fun serving the Lord can be.

Finally, Phoenix, you don't know how hard it's been to leave you. I've had to give you and my love for you to God over and over. A month ago, I wasn't ready to leave. But God's been preparing me, and I think I'm ready as long as I don't think about it too long. (Waking up at 7 to landscapers may help a bit too :P)

We've been saying goodbyes these past two weeks, and while that's been hard I've realized just how blessed I am to have friends and memories that make saying goodbye so painful! God truly provided for us in the way of friends and "Jesus people" when we needed them!

God has just blessed us soooooo much these past 11 years! I know He's gonna do the same in Nashville :D

Anyway Phoenix, it's been fun. I'll still be a Sun Devil (though I'm not sure how that's gonna go down in the Bible Belt :P ), and I still love you so much. You'll always have a special place in my heart, and I hope to visit often!

Stay chill!

Your favorite Phoenician,

Ashley

I'd so appreciate your prayers for safety, strength, and emotional stability these next few days as we drive across this great country. At least I'll read for like the first time in a month... Y'all are the best!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Quote Tag

First off, I'll probably put up the Question and Answer Blogaversary post in like 2 weeks with moving and stuff so be sure to get your questions in if you have any either in this comment section or THIS ONE Thanks!!!

Faith at Stories by Firefly has tagged me with the 3 Day Quote Tag! Yay! Thanks Faith! Instead of doing 3 days, I'm just going to try to put nine quotes in this post :) Let's get started! Oh and I tried to stay away from Tweets and Tumblr posts for most of this cuz that's a whole other topic!

My mom sent me this today. I've come across some great people lately who don't believe exactly the way I do in non-essentials, but we all know Jesus and THAT's the important part!!!


I don't really know why I like this cuz I have big dreams but I wouldn't say they're impossible but it's a fun quote!


That one makes me laugh :D


Blogging and social media have really taught me this next one in the past few years!


So. Much. Yes. EVERYTHING you do, from serving Jesus to school to writing to music, EVERYTHING can be fun. Sure, there's hard parts of everything but there's always a little glimmer of fun. (Even if that means repeating your favorite Tumblr post in your head over and over)


There are two types of good friends: those based on experiences and those based on shared interests. Both are so special to me, but it's so great when you find people (like you all reading this) who like the same things as you!!!


THIS. I actually needed to be reminded of this quote! Sure, I can get away with being a sloppy pianist. Especially a sloppy gospel pianist, but I can do better than that. For Pete's sake, I have God's help!!!


SAME

Booya!! Girl powa!!!!:

Cuz why not?

Thanks so much Faith! This was so fun!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Question Post // Also Some Thoughts on God, Waiting, and Life


Okay, so I just remembered that my second blogoversary is next week! Ahhhhhhhh!! So to celebrate, I'm gonna do a Q and A again! Yay!! This was so much fun last year, and I can't wait to see what you all come up with this time. I'll post my answers some time after next Friday!! So ask away. Now onto the real reason for this post.

Just some random thoughts and things God's been teaching me that I need to put somewhere. You know the feeling. That's why we blog XD

1) Waiting is hard. I thought I had conquered it. I thought I had learned to thrive in the unknown. Not so, my friends, not so. Some stuff has made me realize that I actually am still pretty bad at waiting and being patient. But God's been teaching me. Today, he brought Isaiah 40:31 to mind which says They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. I always have used this verse as a sort of prayer for strength. But today it struck me that if I wait on God, He's gonna give me as much strength to wait on Him even more!

2) God loves me so much and I can feel his leading in my life. He always knows just what I need. Even when what I pray for is very tiny in comparison to the big stuff in my life right now, He always answers my prayer in His own way! God has just been showing Himself to me recently though this whole thing with Nashville. Don't get me wrong, I love Phoenix and am gonna hate leaving, but for the past few years I've always thought of Nashville as the place I would love to move if I had to. And then God's like BAM here ya go! Oh and it's music city and probably 60% of the people in my dream career field live in the state. So that's cool.

3) Speaking of career field, I've moved my Southern Gospel blog over here for several reasons. So go look in my archives if you want to see some more posts :D

4) I literally can't see two steps in front of me. I'm kind of scared. Yes, I met amazing people and made a lot of new friends in the music industry a few weeks ago, but after Stamps-Baxter this summer, I don't see a path ahead of me. It's scary not knowing what college I'm going to or even if I'll be going to a physical college or if I'll have a job as a Southern Gospel pianist in a few months. I have high hopes and dreams but there's a lot of decisions to be made that you just can't base on hopes. But you know what, God has my future and I can rest in that. This fall, I'll either be happily attending community college, or traveling with a group, or who knows what. God knows and that's what matters, but y'all don't know how much I wish I knew....

5) Friends are amazing. Technology is amazing. In the past two months, I've made so many friends. And I can stay connected to them through technology! I know teenagers get ragged on for always being on their phones, but what about those friendships that literally only occur over the internet and cell service? (Yes, I know there's a balance still :) ) There's just so. many. people. who I only have contact with through my phone. And especially with this move coming up and me basically knowing nobody my age in Nashville, I'm just so thankful for technology and keeping up with friends!

6) Finally, I'm starting to get excited about moving. (I'd be more excited if we had a house, but hey, whatever...)  I mean, for the first time in my life, I won't be the oldest in my school and I'll get to pick my friends. Don't get me wrong, I'm SO grateful for the friends I have right now, but I can't wait to get to a larger pool where I can actually find people who like the same things I like. That's why I love all of you blogging friends. We all have similar interests, and that's rarely happened to me "in real life"!!! So #YouDaBest

Anyway, there's some thoughts on what God is doing in my life and what not. If you got to the end, congrats :D Don't forget to ask away!!1

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tagged for Days

That's a phrase the kids use. Anything for days, that is. (Being a full-grown, independent, registered voter adult who doesn't have a drivers license I can call most of y'all kids.) (Also, when I used "y'all" before it was like a joke but now that I'm moving to the South I'm just like "Please Lord don't let me get an accent!!!") Anyway, Evie over at Letters from Avonlea has tagged me with the Liebster award. Thanks Evie! We all know the rules. Answer the questions. Tag other peeps to answer some more questions.


Also, Evie was one of my first blogger friends, and she is sooooo much fun to talk to! You really need to check out her blog!

I'm supposed to answer 11 questions from the last post, and as there were 22, I'm gonna pick the 11 I liked best :D

1) Were you popular growing up? Okay, yes. I mean when you're the PK in a small church and only have 30 kids in your school, you kinda get around. So yeah, I guess I was popular, but then again so was everybody else.


2) Which book have you read the most? Probably Little Men or Hans Brinker The Twenty One Balloons or When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. I've read all those three or four times


3) Is there a movie or book that seems to describe you or your life? North and South right now. Just the change of social situation and the moving and transitioning and just so much! ahhhhh


4) What is one of your newest favorite movies? Oooh this is a good one. Star Wars: The Force Awakens as of December. I'm also enjoying the Flash and looking forward to watching Walt Before Mickey.

TBH this was like my favorite movie as a kid
5) What is your favorite household chore and what is your least favorite? Favorite chore? Ummm cleaning the toilet and bathtub because it takes me like two minutes because I have to do it every morning. Least favorite would probably be cleaning the kitchen after dinner. Ughhhhh.


6) What was one of the first chapter books you ever read? I remember reading the American Girl books as probably a five year old in the dark and getting in trouble. I think it was Kaya book actually! Guess who wears glasses now...


7) Are you easily influenced by pop culture or do you tend to discover things on your own? I tend to discover things through Twitter Moments which are pretty cool most of the time. On the off chance I discover something before Twitter does I feel really excited and cool. (Guys, I watched too many Running Man Challenge videos the past two weeks. If you know what that is, you get me. If you don't, don't worry. You're not missing much.)

8) Could you survive a week without any technology? As in any technology what so ever like running water? Maybe. As in no phone or laptop? I have three times at camp, and it was fine! But then again, you're busy 24/7 and are making new friends and don't really have time for social media anyway...


9) What famous person from history do you want to meet? Oooh this is hard. Like really hard. I would love to talk to one of the Founding Fathers and ask them how they think the Constitution should be interpreted. Also, I love Abraham Lincoln so much right now after hearing a podcast about his speeches. I'm currently watching Young Mr. Lincoln with Henry Fonda which is pretty good but ALL OVER THE PLACE.

10) What is the yummiest, most delicious dessert you can think of right now? Root beer floats cuz they're not too rich and they're just fun!

11) What is your favorite quote? Ooooh this is hard and I'm tired, but here's one I've been pondering recently: "The song says What a Friend We Have in Jesus, but what a Jesus we have in friends!"

That was so much fun! Here are my questions:

1) What's your newest "obsession" (book, tv show, hobby, etc.)?
2) What were your favorite book(s) as a kid?
3) What is/was your favorite school subject? Your least favorite?
4) Have you ever flown (like in a plane or helicopter)?
5) Are you excited for the Olympics this summer?
6) Who is your role model in your dream profession?
7) Do you use your library system a lot?
8) If you could only listen to one music artist for a year, who would it be? (This is hard, I know)
9) How old were you when you learned to read?
10) What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
11) Idk ask yourself a question.

Let's see, I tag Ekaterina, Susanna, and Elizabeth Anne. Y'all can answer in the comments if you want :D


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

April in Review // That Was Fast

Saturday night, I was sitting in a hotel room after a exhausting yet awesome week when I realized that, being past midnight, it was already May. WHAT EVEN FOLKS Yeah, that was fast!!! Also, this will have a lot of run-ons...

So obviously April flew by, but in a good way. There was fun stuff going on every week!

Hanging with the astronaut mascot dude at youth conference
Let's see, first of all there was youth conference which my brother, a friend, and I attended with another church in the area in a van affectionately called the Swagon. That was ridiculously fun, even though it rained at the amusement park. I actually got more wet on the "regular" rides than the water ones! And then I made some great friends with kids in the youth group, found a gymnastics buddy, and got to see almost everyone I wanted to from music camp at the same college!

Funny story from youth conference: So there's this guy who all of the people in our group knew and he was walking around all day with a girl so we were all like "oooohhhhh" but then we learned that she was his cousin... That actually happened, guys!

My music skirt for my graduation

(Oh, and I got Snapchat so add me: amperh)

Then, there was my graduation concert which was a smashing success! I got to see a lot of old friends and I had beans and nachos and got cool gifts so WIN. Also, I hate that whole graduation tassel because it like swings everywhere and NO ONE WARNS YOU. Ahem


Oh and then I had a birthday and I wasn't so sure how I would like 18. Even numbers and everything. But it's been pretty great so far! I mean I'm actually an adult now, and I've already done "adult" things. I mean today, I even helped a five year old through a bloody nose! (so. much. blood.) Anyway, I got Star Wars: The Force Awakens for my birthday, along with a new computer (soon to come), an awesome shirt, a new ZOX, and a cool treasure hunt that led me to last week!

My new Valley of the Sun Wristband
Last week, some friends invited me to help them at a southern gospel festival about 10 hours away. Of course, I jumped at the chance to hang around my dream job! I had a great time, and I learned so, so much. Like how to tear the receipt out of the credit card machine with out flinging the roll of paper across the table which may have happened twice. And how to promote a golf tournament. And how to eat In-N-Out at 12:30 at night! So yeah. I hung out with some amazing people that do what I want to do and made a lot of new friends! And that, folks, happens to be why my motivation is at a low right now... Have you ever just come from a great experience with something you want to do so badly, but then you come back to reality and have to do reality stuff so you're motivation takes a dip? I know it will pass, but I just hope it passes in the next 12 hours...

FINALLY playing the piano loudly after the event

Oh, and a MOVING UPDATE: We are moving to Nashville, Tennessee, AKA Music City, USA. Which is a total God-thing for me personally, but more about that later. Our house closes May 31 so I have a lot, and I mean a lot, to do in the next 29 days. Or however many days until we move.

Well, that's April. I didn't get a lot of reading done, even though I had quite a few car rides. The books I did finish were awesome though! And I got to get a lot of the newer books on my to-read list read! May is not starting out too much better for reading, but because I'm ahead of schedule, I'm pretty okay with it :)

Looking forward:
Finishing high school: NEXT WEEK!!
Moving: Sometime this month
Music camp: July 10-22 (woot woot)