Saturday, September 29, 2012

Helping Friends (Or Strangers)

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." 

- Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV)

As some of you may know, I recently got an amazing job offer from an amazing company (Sogeti). This week, I got my first paycheck from my first "big girl" job. An exciting moment for sure. Since I was not use to such a large paycheck, I decided it's time to start tithing at church.

Well, this week . . something came up, so my tithe isn't going to church. Someone needed it, so I gave it to them instead of the church.

This is a very short post, but I wanted to let you know helping someone can change their day, their week, their life. Need some information on being bold? I wrote a post on that earlier this week. Helping out someone in need doesn't need to be monetary.

Do you have an elderly neighbor who needs their yard mowed? Someone who just had a loss and needs a shoulder to cry on? It's your time to reach out to them. Let them know you care.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Apologies & Mending Friendships

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

- Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

This summer, I decided it was time to mend some broken friendships and say "I'm sorry" to people I've hurt in the past. Definitely not an easy task.

My friends and I in middle school.
The first person I decided to talk to was an ex-roommate. We had a disagreement that ended in "I don't want to be friends anymore." I let it cool off for a few months. I wanted to make sure I was 110% prepared to talk to her again, and not say anything I don't mean to. I sent her a long apology email and mentioned the fact that I could care less if she responded. She mentioned she never wanted to see me again a few months before, so I assumed she wouldn't even read the email. She responded within a week or so. We are now on speaking terms again and speak every day (almost). I explained to her how hurt I was, and she understood.

The second person? A girl from high school. We were friends from about fifth grade until maybe eighth grade year. Long story short: she got a new boyfriend, didn't hang out with the girls, boyfriend breaks up with her, and she comes running back wanting comfort from her girlfriends. I was the only one in our group of girls that didn't go back to her. I guess I wanted to tell her she hurt me by me just ignoring her. So childish and immature, but hey, we were in middle school. It's been a long time coming for me to formally apologize for how I acted.

Third? Another girl from high school. This was by far the hardest person to apologize to. Why? I had a boyfriend in middle school into high school. We were together for almost 2 years. My most serious relationship, and honestly, I thought we would be getting married after high school. He broke up with me because of my depression and suicidal tendencies (I will discuss this topic in another post). Within a few months, he went out with another girl in our grade. I was so heartbroken. I ended up taking all of my jealousy for her and ended up turning it into hate towards her. It was so bad, we almost got physical a few times senior year (she was also a basketball manager with me). That email, by far, was the best one I sent. It made me feel SO much better. That had been bottled up inside of me since freshman year in high school.

Yes, all of them are girls. Girls are so full of drama, it's ridiculous. All of that bottled up "hate" was being held up inside of me for years. I say "hate", because I don't hate anyone. Just a strong anger against them I guess.

Do you have anyone you should apologize to? I'm not your mom or anything, but you'll seriously feel better if you tell them how you feel. Tell them what happened, how they hurt you and that you're sorry for how things turned out. Luckily, email makes it so easy to do that. It definitely would have taken a lot more strength for me to call those ladies up on the phone. I could have done it, but it would have taken a few more months before I finally had the courage to do it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Strength & Hope

"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble."

- Psalm 41:1 (NLT)

Neurogenic Syncope. What in the world is that?

Back in February or March, I passed out randomly while at my apartment. I went to the doctor to try to figure out what in the world was going on. They ran all kinds of tests on me. They thought it was my heart so they did a CT scan, EKG, heart echo, and blood tests. They didn't find anything. My heart was perfectly healthy and there was no sign of diabetes. The doctor mentioned he thought it sounded like neurogenic syncope. After the appointment, I immediately went home to search the internet for more information. This was the most informative site I found.

Photo credit: Justin Lowery
This week, I almost passed out while at work. Around 10 am, I immediately felt shaky and like I could pass out any minute. Pretty terrifying. I took an early lunch in hopes that would help me feel better. I ate a balanced lunch complete with turkey sandwich, grapes, yogurt, and string cheese. It stopped my shakes, but not my passing out feeling. After work, I had my husband take me to a MedCheck clinic. The doctor there said she thought it was neorogenic syncope. That's the second professional to tell me that. She began to explain the treatment options for me. The first one was to do a tilt test. Basically what they do for that is move you into different positions rapidly...trying to induce it (aka make you pass out). The second option was to go see a neurologist. The second option seemed a little less terrifying to me.

They said it can take up to a week to get into the neurologist, so I'm going to try to get in ASAP. She mentioned there are medications out there that can help prevent an episode from happening (thank goodness). It is pretty terrifying, I'm not going to lie. What if I was driving? Or walking up the stairs? Luckily, I can tell when I'm about to pass out with time to spare to sit down or pull over.

Today's verse was a great reminder that God will be there to give me strength. I have hope that the doctors can help me figure out how to help solve this.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Real Marriage Tour: Is Sex Gross, God, or Gift?

My husband and I went to the Real Marriage Tour this past weekend. We ordered the tickets and weren't really sure what we were getting ourselves into. A pastor at my former church suggested we go, so we thought...why not?

My first reaction upon arrival: Wait, what? This is a Christian conference isn't it? WHY are they talking about sex? The church I went to while I was growing up had always taught me that sex is gross. Even through we are married, I still felt like it wasn't okay. Not going to get too personal here, but happy the pastor cleared it up for me! He discussed the fact that there are three different beliefs on this topic: sex is gross, sex is God, and sex is a gift. Sex is gross is basically the thought that it's disgusting and not enjoyable. Sex is God means all you want is sex. You worship it and it's all you think about. Sex is gift is sex the way God intended it.

Okay, okay the conference didn't talk about sex the whole time. Pastor Mark talked about how it is important to date your spouse. Once your lives get busier, it's hard to find room for each other in your schedules. After the conference, we decided to have Thursday nights as date nights. We'll get a jar together with several date night ideas (so not much thinking is involved). I'll post pictures when it's done, don't worry! ;)

My husband even confessed something he'd been hiding from me since the day we met. It was probably eating away at him so much for the last 5.5 years. Happy the conference gave him the strength to spill his guts. :) My reaction probably wasn't what he expected, but I was just so thrilled he told me! It takes a lot to get something out that's been bothering you for a while. I let him know I will support him and help him if he still has problems with it. 

We ended up having a blast and grew so much as a couple!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Be bold.

"Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness."
- Acts 4:29 (NIV)

I attend a decent sized church. My husband and I have been church hopping since we got married. Trying to find a church that suits both of our needs hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. We've been attending this church for the last three weeks. We have both loved the sermons and the people. Next week, we will probably try another local church. We don't want to just "settle" on the first church we go to, although we really do like this one!

The church has been in a series the last few weeks called Big Church. This week's focus was on boldness.

How can we, as Christians, be bold at work, home, and in public?
Being bold about the word of God? Sounds like a silly question, but it's definitely harder than it seems. There have been multiple times when I haven't prayed in public, fearful of being judged. It never hit me. Seriously, Ashleigh? Way to be a bold Christian.

I'm so happy the pastor brought this topic up this week. I am going to focus more on being bold. Who cares what other people think? It's silly that I would almost "hide" my faith because I don't want to offend others. It's time to be bold and stand up for what I believe in. No more being worried that I'll offend someone.

The church handed out rubber bracelets to the congregation. Just a little reminder to be bold this week (and in the coming weeks). It says "BE BOLD. Acts 4:29"

Monday, September 24, 2012

Who am I and why do you care?

My name is Ashleigh and I'm a 20-something located in central Indiana. I was recently married to my high school sweetheart (September 1). Life has been a bit busy lately, but I like it that way. I currently work full-time and attend graduate school full-time. Mother, wife, and coder.

To make this post a little more interesting, here is a picture of my family:

And a picture from our recent wedding:

What is this blog going to be about?
Honestly, anything and everything. I've been trying to find a place to discuss sections of the Bible, life events, etc. Sort of a catch-all for everything in my life. If you don't care to read it, I honestly wouldn't be hurt. Just looking for somewhere to organize my thoughts on issues and life in general.