17 Things I love

I am a typical goal setting, competitive type A who always wants to do 17 things at once.  But that usually just makes me busy, not better.

I don’t want to miss this one shot at life.  My 90 yr old grandmother once told me the precious words that forever ring in my ears, “people miss so much when they are in a hurry”

It’s a process that I have not mastered but I am starting to list 3 things each night before I go to bed that I am thankful for.  Day by day I am learning how much I have to appreciate.  I am learning to take it slower, smell the roses longer and just enjoy the simple stuff…like….

1) The smell of rain

2) The way a 7 year old with 4 missing teeth says “sea shells”

3) The way Bryan enjoys stories about our girls as much as I do.

4) My amazing singing voice when I am alone in the car and the radio is turned up REALLY loud (amazing is a relative term in this sentence).

5) How a tiny seed can grow into a great big plant, just because God said so.

6) This adorable key necklace made by my friend Susie Miller that reminds me to pray for my sisters trapped in modern day slavery.

key

7) 80’s music

8) Chai Tea Lattes

9) My friend Faith Williams who unapologetically chases Jesus with all of her adorable 20-year-old self. Writes with wisdom of someone twice her age at her beautiful blog  and manages the sorority girls can change the world insta account. Because she is also really good at PR.

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10) Anyting written by Mark Batterson.  I have read this one in particular 3 times

11) Less clothes in my closet and more donations to people who don’t have as much

12) A Bible with notes and highlights all over the pages

13) Friends who invite me in even when their house isn’t perfect

14) These two amazing women who are speaking to college women about our great big God at Georgia Southern University!

Jordan Lee (soul Scripts) And Stephanie May Wilson (lipstick gospel)  If you are not already following them.  Please click on their names and fix that ASAP.

Stephanie Mae Wilson and Katie Bulmer

15) Friends that get me. You know the ones. You don’t have to explain anything because they totally get you. I love them.

16) Fake eye lashes.  OMG I know I’m a total diva but I’m obsessed and I don’t care what you think

17) Cuddles with Bryan on the couch watching “this is us” on NBC

What are you loving this time of year?

Losing my jewels

When I turned 7  years old my grandmother decided to give me a sapphire (my birthstone) ring.  I am not sure how or why but somehow this was decided upon as a good idea.

I currently have an 7-year old who, until recently wanted to be a mermaid when she grows up.  I can’t imagine trusting her with such an expensive piece of jewelry.  But never-the-less, when I was 7 my grandmother thought I could handle the responsibility of taking care of this expensive gift.

You can imagine my 7-year-old-self receiving a piece of jewelry that sparkled and glittered and made me look like a princess.  I CHERISHED IT!

My mother who was certainly grateful but I’m sure slightly terrified that her 7 year old has been trusted with this the ring sat me down to make sure I understood this responsibility and to also give me a rule in how to care for it.  

I was given only one rule.  The rule was to make SURE the ring was kept in the safe place.  My ring had two safe spots, it stayed on my finger most the time but when I went swimming or took a shower, it stayed in my jewelry box, on the second shelf, where it was safe.   Those places were determined my “ring’s safe place.” And didn’t need to be anywhere else, EVER.

A few years went by and the magnitude of what I have been trusted with faded and I became careless with my gift. 

One day we went to the beach. Right before I ran to the ocean I looked down at my hand and realized my ring was still on my finger.  I had this inner turmoil in my mind, my mom said the safe places were my finger and my jewelry box.  My jewelry box is back home in Atlanta and I’m afraid if I leave it on I will loose it in the ocean…also I heard somewhere sparkly things attract sharks?  Either way I’m not going in the ocean with my ring. 

I didn’t tell my mom but I told myself JUST THIS ONCE, I’ll take it out of the safe place.  I put my ring in the pocket of my mother’s cover up hanging on the back of the beach chair.

You know where this is going….

Later that day I was searching everywhere.  Tears falling on the sand as I searched every inch surrounding the beach chair desperate to find what I lost.

 I was careless ONE time.  I thought I knew better, I thought I could do as I wanted and have no consequences. My gift was lost.

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Photo credit Ashly Cathy 

God has given us each a gift,  A RARE, precious, expensive I would even say sacred jewel, and that is our body.

 Our body, made to be shared with a life partner is given to us as a gift.  We don’t realize how rare, expensive and precious our gift is.  And sometimes we think we can take our bodies “just this once” out of the safe place it will be fine and there will be no consequences.

God gave us ONE rule regarding our sexuality.  Keep it in its safe place. Just like a fire, in a fire place it is beautiful and helpful.  In the middle of my living room, a fire is destructive and leaves scars. 

‘Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies.’ 1 Corinthians 6:18

Do we think God gave us this command because He is mean and doesn’t want us to have any fun?  Or maybe it’s because He genuinely knows what a precious jewel you have been trusted with and he knows the consequences when it is taken out of the safe place.

 You were designed to become one with one.  Your body is treasured, cherished and unique.  Sex is a gift to be shared in the safe, trusting and mutual respect of the covenant bond of marriage.

You are worth immensely more than what our culture has taught you.  You are a jewel my friend.

I got to be a part of an amazing team of bloggers, writers, and lion chasers to help launch Mark Batterson’s book, “Chase the Lion.”

This book was incredible.  Today is the day to find your inner brave and chase the lions in you life and this book will help you get there!

Appearance:“Chase the Lion” by Mark Batterson Book launch team

What if Mary had said no?

Thank you  Foreverymom.com for re-posting this on your site!

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What if Mary had said no?

Have you ever considered this?

Mary who is engaged to be married is being told by an angel that she is to carry the Lord’s son.  There are about a million things she can be worried about.

Not only is she facing possible execution, her fiancé leaving her, and ridicule…  In the unlikely event that everyone believes her, I think it would be totally valid for her to think: What about me and my plans?  I am about to get married!!  I don’t want to have to alter the wedding dress!  I like being a regular girl, everyone is going to ask me tons of questions!   I really am too busy for all this right now!  God can you find someone else?

Can you imagine this in today culture?  What with all our “plans and schedules”  I’m afraid we would just be too busy for such a task!

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But instead of any of these excuses she says:

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be with me just as you say.”

I think Mary “got” something that we often just don’t comprehend.

It wasn’t about her.

She had the amazing privilege to be the mother of Jesus because she was willing to be “the Lord’s servant.”

This is HUGE

And her self-sacrificing doesn’t end there.  Imagine you have agreed to carry God’s baby and it comes time for you to deliver.  I don’t know but I’m thinking maybe an angel comes and offers a big palace for me to deliver and it is a totally

Imagine you have agreed to carry God’s baby and it comes time for you to deliver.  I don’t know but I’m thinking maybe an angel comes and offers a big palace for me to deliver.   Totally pain-free child birth complete with people fanning me and feeding me grapes would also be nice.

But as we know, she has to make a long journey on a donkey only to find there is NO ROOM for them at the inn and she has no choice but to deliver Jesus in a manger.

You would think Mary would be shouting,
“UMM HELLO HAVING GOD’S SON HERE??? Can someone ELSE sleep in the manger for crying out loud?!!”

Yet Mary knew this wasn’t about her…it was ALL about Jesus. 

Every piece of her story, her pain, and even her frustration was all part of the beautiful story that we still remember today and will remember for generations to come, not because of her, but because of Jesus.

While I certainly believe Mary was the one God choose but what if she had said no.  She would have been free to do live her own little “important” life not to be “inconvenienced with the fear of being stoned and shaming her fiancé and family.   Yet her own little plans and agenda would have died with her generations ago and we would never even know her name.  

Making His name famous, furthering His kingdom, and doing HIS work.  His name is the only one that will last through the generations.  Why is it so hard for us to realize this?

Father my own little Kingdom is just laughable really.  Take my oh so important “plans” and use them for YOUR glory.  My plans and kingdoms will fall, but your Lord never will.

Mary was truly the Lord’s servant.  She put her own plans, fears, and excuses to the side.  None of that matters when the God of the universe has other plans.

Sorority Girls Can Change the World book release

Guys, it’s official.  “Sorority girls can change the world” is ready to read!

This is a book to all the girls looking for their happily ever after realizing dang Cinderella’s castle was so much farther away than they thought it would be.   To the girl that is longing for significance but keep coming up empty.  I hear you, and I wrote this for you.

If you are reading this book,  I have prayed for you before you read this.  My prayer is something in these pages will help you to realize your incredible power of influence and the world changing potential within you! If you know a sorority girl that could benefit from these words I hope you share it with her too.

Here is what the readers are saying

“This book is full of so many truthful stories that all college girls need to be reminded of.”   Caitlyn Fears Phi Mu

“Love!! Can’t wait for this book to be in the hands of every college girl.  So much truth in these pages” -Jenny Way Alpha Delta Pi

Sorority Girls Can Change The World, is a book of hope, encouragement, and love. May it stir your heart as it has mine.  -Kiley B. Ward Kappa Kappa Gamma

Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you a free copy of my book

 

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I’d love to send you a free copy of my book!




What has 1.7 million listeners and downloaded in 205 different countries?  Why the “life is a marathon podcast” of course!

And yours truly gets to be a guest speaker Thursday December 15th!  Subscribe to the podcast and get ready to listen as we talk about being brave in an ocean of social pressure.  Let’s encourage each other and light some fires within our friend groups to stop settling for status quo, start questioning the way ‘it’s always been done” and start living the life we are created to live.

Let’s be brave!

Listen for free here!

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Date:December 15, 2016
Appearance:Your Life is a Marathon podcast
Location:Richmond, VA
Format:Podcast

https://www.amazon.com/Sorority-Girls-Can-Change-World-ebook/dp/B01N1TKAX8/ref=s9_simh_gw_g351_i1_r?_encoding=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=PRJ4SA4QXJ6AHY27BKM9&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=9f840529-d6e7-463b-ab2b-3aa605b03263&pf_rd_i=desktop

Heart language

My senior year of college, I met Jesus and I learned a new language.  It was totally foreign at first- nothing made sense. However, slowly but surely I began to learn foreign concepts like, “guarding my heart” and “avoiding temptation,”  But for the love of being popular what did all of this even mean?

I did not get it.  This was not at all my first language. 

I didn’t realize it at the time since I have always spoken English, but I have a “heart language”

I have a friend serving as a missionary in South East Asia.  When sharing the gospel, one of the first questions they ask is,

“What is your heart language?”

This is the language you grow up hearing, the language that you can most easily relate to, and the language in which you first learned the ways of the world.  This is often referred to by missionaries as your “heart language.”  While many people (outside of the U.S.) speak more than one language, they typically have only one language they know best.  Speaking truth to someone in their native tongue knocks down all sorts of walls and is so much easier to receive.

Heart Language

Ashly Cathy photo 

A typical sorority girl is my heart language.  This is the language I learned first.

Be beautiful

Sleep with your boyfriend if you really like him, or just because he wants you to.

Be beautiful

Wear designer fashion.

Oh, and did I mention to be beautiful?

Popularity, boys, and vodka was the language I learned in high school and it was tattooed to my heart when I joined a sorority in college.

I am fluent in this language. It is the language I learned first. I get them and they get me.  These people are my people. 

My passion is to communicate, in my heart language, to my people. That true love and happiness is not found in the arms of a guy or vodka (ew).  I looked very hard in both areas and found myself empty, EVERYTIME.

Learning a new language was tricky and it did not happen overnight.   I had to surround myself with friends who spoke this new tongue.  I had to read books on it and I had to listen to the people who spoke it best.  

We all have a “native tongue” or a group of people we identify with best.  You do not have to explain the back story or the “why” behind it because they get it.  We can relate to each other.  We have walked in the same (totally adorable) shoes.

Mother Teresa says “Calcuttas are everywhere, you just have to find yours”

Jesus is in the business of transforming us; it is what He does best.  He uses people like you and me to share with “our people” who speak the same language. He wants us to connect with others, telling them about the TRUE abundant life and the happiness that lasts so much longer than just a little temporary fun.

Identify your native tongue. Who speaks your language? 

What yoga has taught me about life

When I started attending Yoga classes I was simply interested in a way to get stronger and more flexible. What I wasn’t expecting was a whole new way of looking at… well everything.

Even as a kid I was a mile away from touching my toes in gym class.  I never made the cheerleading team because I could never dream of doing a backbend.  So when I first came to a yoga class I thought the teacher should be charged with attempted murder.  It was so hard, and I hurt for days afterwards.  Muscles I didn’t know I had hurt.  My husband said I whined so much he thought he was raising 3 little girls.

After I could get out of bed without my muscles screaming I looked at the gym calendar and decided to give the class another try.  The class was still insanely hard and I was convinced some of the poses she suggested were only possible for circus employees.

BUT I JUST KEPT TRYING

I was not naturally good at any of it.  None of it came easy.  It hurt and I fell the first 100 times I tried every pose.

BUT I JUST KEPT TRYING

After a few months, I could go to classes more often.  I started to be able to balance better, my muscles started to show that they existed and I know miracles can happen because eventually, I could touch my toes without bending my knees.

Fast forward a few years and now I teach classes.  I know right!!?? When the offer first came up I thought, “But I can’t even…well I used to not be able to….wow I guess I can do everything the teachers can do”  I never, ever, thought I would be able to one day teach, but again…

I JUST KEPT TRYING

Do you see a theme here?

One step at a time, one class at a time and one day at a time, this is how we conquer anything hard.

Most recently I started an adventure of writing a book.  I have no idea what I’m doing.  I am learning a lot of things the hard way but I am persistent and I will just keep showing up to a date with my keyboard praying God will be made strong in my weakness.

In Yoga they say  “when you want to come out of the pose that is when the pose begins”
Translation:  When you are tired want to give up that is when the magic happens.

No one just gradually falls into “better” it takes WORK. 

If you are feeling a million miles from where you want to be,  a simple lesson I learned on my yoga mat is JUST KEEP TRYING.  You never know how close you are to the good stuff.

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Find your Alex

Disney is a lot like being a 20 something.

The landscape in front of us is filled with lights, glitter, promises of tons of fun and magic.  We stand in lines 2 hours long having no idea what we are even signing up for but the crowd is doing it so it must be a good idea.  Cinderella’s castle glows from the light of fireworks with promise of happily ever after in the backdrop.  We set out with gusto and excitement ready to have more fun than the history of fun.

But at the end of the day we are tired.  The directions were off, that two hour long wait left more pain from standing than magical memories.  Dang Cinderella’s happily ever after was so much harder to find than we thought it would be and the bottled water cost FIVE EVER LOVING DOLLARS.  It all looked so glamorous from the outside but inside it’s mostly just hot, expensive and exhaustive.

Until we met Alex.

As I write this it is early morning on our kids 3rd trip to Disney world.  This time we know what we are doing.  We checked out all the websites, we got the guide to Disney book.  We asked people smarter than us, we brought our own water, and we met Alex.  

Alex was the nice young guy that greeted us at Hollywood studios, a park we were least familiar with.  Alex took the time to walk us all the way to the far side of the park for our first attraction.  He explained the fast passes, the stops that would be great for our kids and the ones that would make us barf.  

Alex had been here before, he knew the ropes.  He helped us save time, money, made our day the best yet at Disney.  

Why do we ask for directions at Disney but forget to ask in life?

No matter where we are in life we need someone who has traveled this road before us to help us out.   A mentor, a guide, an Alex.

The mentors in my life are often older but not always.  Sometimes it’s just someone who has simply walked in my shoes, got lost a few times, wasted time, and now has advice that I truly treasure.

I seek out people living a life I aspire to attain.  No one has it all figured out but no amount of books are as helpful as someone who has simply been there.  At Disney you may waste a few hours getting lost but in life you could waste years if you don’t know which way to go.

While I write this I’m 37.
I’ve been to Disney.  I’ve also been to fraternity parties, hugging the toilet after too much tequila.  I’ve had (lots) of heart break and I’ve also found my happily ever after.  I’ve lived in New York City, Atlanta and small towns of Georgia.  I’ve worked in print, radio, and TV advertising firms and I’ve been a stay at home mom.

 I’ve met Jesus through the eyes of the homeless and at the mansions of greek row.  I have served every roll you can imagine at church but my heart is what I do now. Speaking, writing and having coffee with young women.  Your heart is so eager and hungry to figure life out. And I love that about you.  But as eager as you are, you are only 20.  You are not supposed to have it all figured out yet.  You are supposed to just enjoy being 20.

Just like a first time visit to Disney you are not supposed to have it all figured out yet but my prayer is you will listen to those that have been there before you, gone the long way, found ourselves exhausted and heartbroken and wrote it all down so you wouldn’t have to do the same.  I found the ways that avoid the long sweaty lines. The exhaustive long and winding routes and I brought us both a bottle of water….and it’s free.

 

 

 

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What if I never get married?

Leading college small groups for about 10 years,  I hear this question a lot.  “What if I never get married?”
First of all, I get it. When I was 20 I was totally terrified to end up middle aged with my only companions as jelly donuts and 17 cats.

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Ashlyn Cathy Photo 

I’m in my 30’s now, married with kiddos (no cats) and a little life under my belt.  Now I see this question much differently.  

I look across our lattes as we sit together at the coffee shop listening to the NINETEEN year old worried she won’t find a husband.  With genuine love totally remembering feeling that way I look at you now and honestly want to say, “You are an infant!!!  What in the actual heck are you worried about!”

Good news from my side of the fence:
Do you know how many of my friends (also my age) from college, sorority sisters, or anyone I even knew that did NOT get married?
Two
As in 1 more than 1.  As in only 2.

I don’t know how to prove what kind of odds that is other than comparing how many people I currently know on facebook.  Assuming we know about the same amount of people that gives you a  .0016 chance that you won’t get married.

The odds are in your favor.

While I only have 2 friends that never married I know tons of people who are fighting custody battles with their kids because they are divorced.  Or married and miserable.

Permission to speak freely here?

 While there are few guarantees in the marriage and dating world I do have one guarantee for you.  
Sleep with as many men as you want, give your heart and body away with little or no expectations and I GUARANTEE you will have a million and 1 marriage problems IF marriage works out at all. YIKES I KNOW I SAID IT.

OR

You can look differently than the world.  Protecting your heart.  Protecting your body.  Working on becoming the best future wife you can be with as little baggage to carry into the marriage as possible.
Worry less about getting married and more about becoming a whole complete and loved by Jesus YOU.

Wouldn’t you want your future husband to be doing the same thing?

The Huffington post said it this way:

it’s a question of supply and demand. “Easy” women are easy to get. The supply exceeds the demand. Now, it’s the sexually modest woman that stands apart in the dating world as a rare and desirable thing.
(the whole article is great) 

From the Good Man project, author Dave Booda says it this way:

Ladies, if you really want men to step up and become the real men you talk about, you must demand it. I’m not saying ask for it, I’m not saying hope for it, I’m saying demand it.  What does that mean? It means you don’t settle for anything less. It means if you aren’t satisfied, you walk away. Men will rise up and meet your challenge, I promise, it’s what we do best. We love challenges. We love it when women make us step up and work.

Men are hard wired to work, we just have to expect no less of them!

There are some amazing men out there ladies.  But the good guys are not looking for a girl dancing on top of the bar.
The most profound question I have heard for singles to take heart is this: “Are you who you are looking for, is looking for?” -Andy Stanley

Guarding your heart, protecting your body and seeking your heavenly father FIRST will prepare you to be a wife of nobel character.

Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God.1 Peter 3:4

I think the real question is not “Will I get married?” but  “Is my God big enough to take care of this?”

He is a good father.  He sees you begging and pleading for what you think will fulfill your heart.  But he loves you too much to let you believe the lie that another human can fill the void that only He can fill.  He wants to pour into your broken places.  Make you whole and complete.  He wants you to become the person you are looking for is looking for not just for them, but for yourself as well.  Enjoy your single time. Make the most of it.  And don’t worry.  He’s got this.