What Does Ordination Mean, Anyway?

What Does Ordination Mean, Anyway?

Tonight something very special took place at 1200 West Grantham Street in Goldsboro. Not only was it our last service at Faith (tears!), but it was also Jonathan's ordination service. Now, growing up a pastor's daughter, I was certainly familiar with ordination. In case you don't know what it is, ordination pretty much entails (at least at our church) meeting with the deacons so they confirm you're not a heretic or anything, then giving a testimony before Preacher grills you Perry Mason-style in front of the church regarding several basic points of theology and doctrine. =) Then the staff and deacons "lay hands" on you, pray, and you get a Bible along with an ordination certificate officially inducting you into the Gospel ministry.

That's what an ordination is. Before tonight, I had witnessed quite a few ordination services and had a pretty good idea of what they were. In fact, it was during an ordination service several years ago at Faith that Jonathan and I, as teenagers, looked at each other and sort of telepathically agreed that this was what we wanted for our lives. In that moment, we just knew that God had full-time ministry in our future, and we were right. And now that we've been married for a couple of years, we've experienced ministry first-hand. However, it wasn't until tonight that I truly grasped what ordination means

It's hard to describe just how overwhelming, frightening, and yet totally exciting it is to think about the fact that the two of us, though unworthy and unproven, have been chosen by God for His service. We have literally, formally been set apart for a life in ministry, and to accomplish anything less would now be a disservice to the Lord, our families, and the many people who have invested in our lives through the past several years. Talk about responsibility! Tonight as I watched my husband talk about God's call on his life and his plans for our future, I was a) so proud I thought I'd burst and b) incredibly thankful that I married a man of God. It was very cool to hear people who have known Jonathan his entire life talk about what a servant he is (which is very true) and to think about how many people he has influenced over the past years at Faith. We hope to see many more in the coming years! 

The service was so special, but it wasn't until we were kneeling at the altar, surrounded by staff and deacons, that it hit me- "Good grief, they're talking about us!" (Yes, I'm very bright.) I am so full of emotions- mostly excitement, a little fear, and what I'd call a healthy dose of trepidation as we head into this next chapter in our lives. It feels a little like leaving "the nest" since Faith has been Jonathan's home for so long and has felt like home to me for years. Am I nervous about being "on our own" for the first time? Um, yes. Do I feel totally inadequate? Most of the time. But do I think that ministry is the most awesome adventure possible for our lives? Definitely. 

For years, one of my favorite preachers has been known to say, "God's business is the greatest one in all the world." I couldn't agree more, and I couldn't be prouder that my husband is one of "God's men" and that I get to serve by his side. (If you think I'm being sappy tonight, I am... just bear with me for this one time.) ORDAINED- set apart, invested officially with ministerial authority, sent out into ministry. What it means to me is this- Jonathan and I get to spend our lives serving God. Does it get any better than that? 

No, friends, I don't think that it does. =)

Faith family, we love you all so much and will miss you greatly! Please come see us... it's not too far away! 


High Five for Friday...

High Five for Friday...

Hi there, all you lovely people. I am actually a little sad that Friday has come because it means that our last week in Goldsboro is coming to a close.  Nonetheless, 5 things that made me happy this week: (Oh, and I'm linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk as always!) 

1. I am working on a writing project (as in, an actual one and not just a bunch of my jumbled thoughts posted on the internet) and I've made some really good progress on it this week. Mainly because I finally have a deadline. Am I the only person who doesn't function well with open-ended projects? Anyway, I've been really nervous about it but it's coming together pretty well (!!!) so yay, me. I understand if you don't share in my excitement. I have enough for all of us. =)

2. This picture of me and Meghan makes me happy. She looked so pretty as the junior bridesmaid... I can't believe it's been 2 years since she was my flower girl!

3. The fabulous four... we're all married now! Yay! I love this picture (of everyone but me... but that's beside the point.)

4. I got to spend some time with one of my dearest friends this weekend. I can't wait for her own wedding day in July. Love you Starling!

5. I got this skirt at Old Navy this week for $10! I've been looking for a maxi skirt for a long time and since it's the middle of summer they're full price almost everywhere. Therefore, I felt like this was a deal I just couldn't pass up! (Go figure.)

That's it for now... this time next week I'll be posting from my new house! (And I only have about 34 million things to do between now and then. Wish me luck!) Have a great weekend everyone!


Worry Warthog...

Worry Warthog...

In case you didn't grow up on Patch the Pirate (and I pity you if that's the case), I should let you know that my title is a throwback to an old classic Patch song, "Worry Warthog". I'd start singing it, but Jonathan really doesn't like me to do that. (Apparently he was a little afraid of the whole snorting tune as a child. But that's a long story best suited for a therapy session.)

Anyone who knows me is probably aware that I'm not a big fan of change. (Except for new clothes, obviously.) But other than that, I'm a pretty dull and boring consistent person. I have ordered the same thing at restaurants since I was a child... pasta fagioli soup at Olive Garden, McChicken at McDonald's, a Grilled Stuffed Burrito with no beans at Taco Bell, etc. (I know you're super eager to be made aware of my eating habits.) I want my drinks in a foam cup (seriously, paper cups make the drink melt in like 2.4 seconds). I've used the same duffel bag since high school. I still have my Georgia phone number and have no plans to switch it for a new one. I'd still have my first email address if it weren't for the fact that I feel extremely foolish on the phone or at a store repeating myself, "Yes, that's littleangel421@aol.com" or whatever it was. (Don't mock me- you know you had a lame-o email address too.) 

Anyway, my point is not that I have an unreasonable attachment to having things a certain way. (Sorry it you thought that was my point.) It's not even that I am ridiculously sentimental (and I am). I'm trying to say that as our move approaches, the more it's kind of slapping me in the face that everything in my life is about to change. And while we're not headed to another country (or even another state... I know, I'm a baby!), I still feel like everything's about to be turned upside down. So, though I usually try not to spill my guts to all you lovely people, let me transparent here for a minute. (And yes, it's probably true that someone's thinking, "Gee, Ash, if what you usually say is "holding back" I hate to see the real you." Just bear with me.) Even though it's only an hour away, and the people and church are wonderful, and my best friends are moving too, and we've got a great new apartment, and New Bern is a beautiful town.... let me tell you a little secret.

I'm terrified.

I know... I'm crazy. I really am excited about this opportunity. God has made it abundantly clear that this is what we are supposed to do right now. But just the thought of being in a new place with new people and an entirely new set of responsibilities makes me anxious. I feel like Woody on Toy Story when he turns around and he's standing on a Buzz Lightyear blanket! 

I'm a worrier by nature. I have lain in bed every night this week thinking about the move and what could possibly go wrong. I've thought about telling dear friends goodbye after two years of serving together. I've thought about the fact that I'm about to go and influence TEENAGERS (yes, those fearsome creatures). I thought about the fact that I will soon be an assistant pastor's wife, which is a pretty hefty responsibility. I've thought about living an hour closer to the beach (I have a major fear of hurricanes). I've thought about this Sunday being my last in our choir, one of the most special things in the world to me. I've thought about meeting new people and "starting over" a new set of relationships. (And believe it or not, I'm a little shy. Okay, don't believe it.)

Anyway, I am giving myself a pep talk (to which you've apparently been invited) and this is my mantra.

I wish it were this easy. But you know, maybe it is. I also ran across this little nugget of wisdom.

Who says Pinterest is only good for wasting time recipes and craft ideas? This one really got me. I'm not making anything better or solving anything by worrying. Truthfully, there aren't any problems to be solved. I'm just adding fuel to the fire when it comes to my own fears and insecurities. And, as it turns out, that's kind of a sin. Matthew 6 clearly talks about the fact that worry can't add a "cubit to thy stature" before it goes on to rebuke "oh ye of little faith." 

So, I apologize for this rambling post. I seem to have talked myself in a circle here, but I think we've all been there. Don't we all worry? Please tell me you worry about ridiculous things... or I might get worried that I'm the only one who does. =) Seriously, though, while it's hard to to say goodbye to so many wonderful people, I really am excited about moving. And if you see me in the next few days, I may or may not be singing this song loudly to reassure myself. 

I've convinced myself that it's rich with biblical truth. 

Have a worry-free week, my friends. I know that's my goal. 


Georgia Vacation Part One- The Kiddos...

Georgia Vacation Part One- The Kiddos...

You know how everyone says that a parent's reward for raising kids is grandchildren? Well, I think that my reward for growing up with my sisters is having my nieces and my nephew. Of all my family titles (sister, daughter, cousin, niece, etc.) I'd say "Auntie Ashley" is probably my favorite. (Or as Leslie says, "Ah-ie", or as Baby Steven says, "Aahhhh!" We're working on his pronunciation.) 

Love this face! 

The Fat Man's hair is out of control! (And no, his parents don't beat him. He just got in a little scuffle with the sidewalk.)

He's less than enchanted with this special aunt/nephew moment.

Okay, I do not love Leslie any less. I just happen to have fewer pictures of her because Miss Thing is sooo very busy that I could not pin her down for more than a couple pictures, and she has a thing for smiling right after the flash goes off. But that's my Goose! (And she is an absolute doll!)

Uncle Jonathan is ridiculously wrapped around these kids' little chubby fingers.


Precious. He'll be such a good daddy someday. (Far, far away!)

The playground at Chick-fil-A.

Steven was so excited he was drooling! (Actually he drools incessantly. Like a fountain.)

Leslie Lu was less enthusiastic about the slide.

Gigi just HAD to have a turn.

My mini-me.

Sleeping in Auntie Amy's tornado wreckage closet. =)

I am so thankful for these kids. Even if my sisters were total psychos I'd learn to tolerate them for the chance to play with their adorable cherubs. (Fortunately, they are definitely NOT psychos, at least not all the time. Mostly they are very respectable citizens. =) 

Am I the only completely crazy, doting aunt out there? I'd hate to think so. (But if you think your nephews/nieces are cuter than mine, you are wrong. Don't argue with me, or we may come to blows.)

(Auntie) Ash

My Best Friend's Wedding...

My Best Friend's Wedding...

Today was a very special day. Two of my very best friends, Blake and Brook, got married in an absolutely precious ceremony. Everything was beautiful, especially the bride =), and I think my very favorite moment of the day was when Blake surprised Brook by singing to her during the ceremony. (I almost cried... I didn't, but I came close! It was so sweet!)

As Blake and Brook's wedding day has gotten closer, I've tossed around the idea of writing a poem for them. However, with things being as insanely busy as they've been the past few days, I decided not to push it- if one "came" to me, I'd write it. And this morning around 1:30, it decided to come. It's hard to put into words just how special these two are to Jonathan and me, but the Lord has certainly blessed us with these incredible friends. 

Every little girl has dreams 
About her special "princess" day,
Where her fairy tales will all come true
In every kind of way.

She'll meet the man she's dreamed of,
And forever they will be
Together in their "castle"
Living oh-so-happily.

Today that time's arrived for you,
A pair of very different friends
Whose love for one another 
A very special message sends-

That God can take two people,
From different walks of life,
And bring these two together 
To live as man and wife.

Two people who desire

To together serve the Lord,
And gives their lives in service
To share about His word.

They complement each other
In all the perfect ways,
And the fun they have together
Brightens even gloomy days.

It's not easy to imagine
That this day is finally here,
And the end to all the craziness
Is finally drawing near.

No more planning, wedding errands,
No more drama, no more stress,
You finally get to put on
That tux and that white dress!

The last few months will all pay off
When you finally say, "I do,"
And the dreams you've always had inside
Are finally coming true.

It's really so amazing 
The way it's all worked out,
And through the good and bad times
You'll learn what love is all about.

Don't ever let the hard times
Outweigh the many good,
Your love will be the strongest 
If you treat it like you should.

So now get ready as you start
Your journey hand in hand,
And let God lead the two of you
On the perfect path He's planned.

You'll be the greatest team there is
As side by side you serve
And with each other you can face
Life's every bend and curve. 

So on this, your special wedding day,
Please know you're very loved,
By family, friends, and most of all
Your Father up above.

He brought the two of you together
And joined you, heart to heart, 
Congratulations on this day 
Your life together gets its start.

Ah... don't you just love weddings? (*Sigh*) Congratulations to a wonderful couple!


My Favorite Cookies...

My Favorite Cookies...

I am not much of a "sweet" person. (I know, you're like, "Duh, Ashley. No one thinks that!") Not my personality- I mean I'm not a big fan of sweet food in large quantities. I love chocolate, cake, etc. but I'm not usually one to have a "sweet tooth". I'm much more of a salty snacks kind of girl. Give me a bag of chips and some salsa (or chex mix, or crackers, or...) and I can do some major damage. (It's just a fact- I didn't say I was proud of it!)

That's why I love these cookies, actually... they're sweet, but not too rich. Actually, they're just heavenly. (And when you try them you'll wholeheartedly agree.) And if you're not a big oatmeal person, try them anyway. I'm not either, but it's not like actually eating oatmeal. The oats just kind of hold everything together. =) Plus I love these because they're easy, but involve more than merely removing a pre-formed piece of dough on a cookie sheet (and don't think for a moment I have a problem with those, since they are the cookies we eat 75% of the time!). I just like to play Betty Crocker now and then and these are perfect, since I haven't ruined them yet! 

In the old Guin, AL cookbook, these are called "boiled cookies" but that just sounds absolutely disgusting to me, so I have always called them no-bakes, or their lesser-known, much-longer-but-more-literal name, Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies. But since I'm not a big fan of including nearly every ingredient in the title of something, let's just go with no-bakes. (BTW, these only take about 15 minutes to make, but about 30 minutes to harden.)

All you do is...

1. Gather your ingredients. You need: 
- 2 cups sugar - 1/2 cup milk -1 stick butter/margarine
- 3 tbsp. cocoa - 3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal 
- 1/2 cup peanut butter - 1 teaspoon vanilla

*This makes a pretty huge batch. I usually halve the recipe and still end up with about 15 cookies. But that's because Jonathan doesn't eat these alot so I'm fortunate enough to be  stuck eating most of them myself. Whatever works for you!

2. Mix the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa in a pan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (Scorched chocolate = bad news!) Let boil for one minute and remove from heat.

3. Stir in the oats, peanut butter, and vanilla. Then let it "hang out" for just a couple minutes, so that it starts sticking together.

*This is usually the part that I eat a spoonful or two (or more). 

4. Then cover a pan with wax paper or aluminum foil and drop the mixture in generous spoonfuls onto it. They can harden at room temperature but I usually use the fridge because I'm impatient and greedy to hasten the process. 

5. Enjoy these amaaaazingly delicious cookies! They are great, I promise! 

Happy eating, everyone!


High Five for Friday...

High Five for Friday...

Wow... it's amazing how much more slowly this week has gone, considering I really haven't done much of anything. When you go from having more than seems possible to do (school, packing, moving,etc.) and it all comes to a screeching halt, time just kind of stands still. (That and I have felt nothing but supremely lazy for most of this week.) Nonetheless, this week has been a much-needed break from all the craziness that has been our lives for the past few months. So, I won't make you wait any longer (how cruel of me!)... my five favorites from this week! (And as always, I'm linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk!)

1. Our shopping trip on Memorial Day- due to my clothing mishap last week, I had to purchase a few casual items to get me through the next few weeks. (Hmm... maybe I should define "few". I should probably, so as to remain completely truthful, that I purchased several shirts. Let's see... I think I got 3 solid shirts from TJ Maxx, a solid black t-shirt from Target, and a few other patterned shirts from various retailers. (Aka I don't remember and I'm too lazy to get up and look.) Oh, and an ah-dorable dress from Loft for $13. Yay!

2. Unexpected readers- I've had some people tell me this week, either on Facebook or in person, that they're enjoying my blog. Since these people were not my sisters, mother, or financially obligated to say this, I felt pretty good about it! It's nice to hear that from people who don't have to say anything. (Or have surprised me because they don't necessarily seem like the type of people to enjoy my ramblings!) Thanks, guys!

3. Summer reading (or, sitting around being lazy)- I have had time this week to actually read for enjoyment, so... my reading is not 3rd grade essays on "When I Grow Up", which are adorable, but it's nice to read something I don't have to check for spelling, punctuation, or capitalization. The sad thing is, I've yet to open a book I haven't read before. I'm definitely a repeat reader. Like, I'll read a book a million times until I can quote portions of it from memory. (You think I'm joking, but pull out a Beverly Cleary or Nancy Drew book and test me!) Still, I'm enjoying re-reading these books. I guess I should venture on to some new books eventually.

4. My crazy unexpected deal at Old Navy- as I mentioned, I've been on the hunt for some casual shirts. On my list of "wants" was a striped boatneck shirt (I'm a sucker for all things nautical). Well, I got a really cute one at Ross (in coral! Ah!) but got it home and it was too big. And not just a little bit, but more like "Wow, this adds five pounds" way. So, back it went. (I hardly need the help of my striped shirt for the five pounds!) But this left a striped, boatneck void in my wardrobe! Then Tuesday we were at Old Navy in Raleigh and I found this:

Striped, boatneck, and in a super, only-slightly-less-my-favorite-than-coral royal blue! But what about the price? For whatever reason, I couldn't find a price tag. I found the same shirt in another color, and that one was priced at $10.49. Well, if you know me at all, you know I'm not really inclined to pay 10 bucks for a t-shirt, even one to fill my striped, boatneck void. And, Old Navy is sometimes known to have different prices on the same shirt if they are different colors (for whatever reason). So, I just took it up to the register to ask. And the sweet, wonderful girl working entered a few numbers, made a confused face, then shrugged and said, "How about $3.99?" 

She's my new best friend. 

And just like that, the void was filled for a mere 4 dollars. Yay me! (And yay for the cashier... I'm her friend for life!)

5. The Mudcats game- If you're not familiar with the glamorous world of minor-league baseball, the Carolina Mudcats are the A-affiliates of the Cleveland Indians. They play at Five-County Stadium in Zebulon and I love going to their games! It's some of the best cheap fun you can get around here! And thanks to Groupon, it was made even cheaper- we got 4 tickets for $10 and took Blake and Brook (who else?!) on Tuesday night. It was also Dollar Dog night ($1 hot dogs), so it really was hard to beat. (Oh, and we decided to walk down and sit right behind the plate because almost the entire section was empty. And it stayed that way.) Much fun with our friends! (And it's always entertaining to attend a ball game with Jonathan, who suddenly turns into Lou Piniella and acts like he knows all there is to know about baseball! But, it's entertaining, so I egg him on just go with it!) 

That's it, folks... my high five for Friday from this leisurely week! Hope everyone has a great weekend!