March 26, 2015
i thought kids were a couple years down the road for us... but sometimes God just sends you a little surprise party in your belly and you can't believe how completely excited you are and can't figure out why you didn't want this sooner! God knows our hearts better than we do... and He knew we wanted kids even before we really did... His timing is perfect and we just couldn't be more thrilled for this gift.
it's mind-blowing to think that God already has a plan and purpose for this little life and somehow we get to be part of it! we're just praying for a smooth and healthy pregnancy and of course, a healthy baby... and would love your prayers if you think about it!
ash + nic + baby :)
March 24, 2015
by His stripes we are healed.
i just love the beautiful, powerful simplicity of the gospel. by His sacrifice, we have salvation. He endured our punishment so that we could have peace. it's nothing we could ever accomplish on our own... it's not about how much we "do" or attempt to do for the Lord, it's about what He's already done for us!
His stripes cover every sin and heal every wound. He - the perfect / the strong / the sinless / the immortal hero / the King / the Creator - endured a pain so terrible and inhumane so that we - the sinners / the imperfect / the poor / the wounded / the depraved / the lost - could be set free.
His love gives life.
don't you just feel a weight being lifted remembering that? my heart feels so light with thankfulness when i reflect on what He's done for me, for us... He died so that we would have vibrant life and perfect peace and hope in the darkness.
and for that, life is lovely.
i've created these little phone wallpapers to help us keep our eyes on those lovely truths. [p.s. if you have an iphone, when setting the wallpaper, turn off the perspective zoom for a correct display of the image. :)]
"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,
the punishment for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed."
so much love to you friends!!
March 12, 2015
January 18, 2015
instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
....and then i came across that verse, and i remember feeling a huge sense of hope, an assurance that whatever that "thorn" is, God would always grow redemption in that very spot. God would always use that area of my life - whether it's the thorn of my childhood, the thorn of my trials, or the thorn of my sin - to bring a flourishing, redemptive work that couldn't be explained apart from His ability to bring abundant goodness out of pain. life out of death. beauty out of ashes. trees out of thorns.
i love that picture! the very place, the very hurt, that seems the furthest from good or growth, is the very place that God will cause something stunning to flourish, because He loves us and wants us to live forever with Him. His love is overwhelming, isn't it?
whatever thorn you're dealing with today, remember that it's not in vain. that thorn is the perfect place for God to work wonders and bring about beauty.
p.s. please take a few minutes to read the entire chapter of isaiah 55 - it's packed with grace and promises and encouragement and inspiration for our journeys... love you guys!
January 8, 2015
"then moses said to the Lord, 'o my Lord, i am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but i am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'
so the Lord said to him, 'Who has made man's mouth?
or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? have not I, the Lord?
now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.'"
it's scary to step out in faith. it's scary to do something we've never done before, to stand before a great sea of unknowns... waiting for God to part it and make a path that we've never walked before. it's scary to follow God's calling because, most of the time, it seems impossible.
if we always stayed in a place of comfort, in a place of 'possible', there would never be a need to be courageous. only when we're faced with something scary or uncomfortable or seemingly impossible, do we have the chance to exercise bravery...
the quality that allows someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening.
i'm reminded of frodo and sam... small homebody creatures unlikely to have any sort of adventure or victory. they had never faced a day of battle or discomfort or setbacks or loneliness or climbing mountains or meeting new people... they didn't know all the ins and outs of their task, where exactly to go or what they might encounter.... but they were willing and went.
we won't know all the ins and outs of God's plan for our lives, we'll be met with forks in the road and we won't know which way is 'right'... so instead of just sitting down at the fork and not moving from fear of picking the wrong direction, let's move forward in faith. let's be assured that no matter which way we choose that God will direct us. He made us, He fights for us, and He will not forsake us.
the way will be dangerous and it will be frightening. that's why God repeatedly encourages us through His Word to be courageous... because He knows that what He's asking of us is scary, and we can't do it without Him, but He will be with us and He will do the impossible.
i've been super inspired by my dear friend chelsea, who has just embarked on a new journey attending hillsong college in australia. i'm amazed at her courage to step out in faith when it would be so much easier to just stay in her comfort zone. after i read her post about being totally afraid and totally excited, i borrowed her little phrase that speaks volumes to me and made a wallpaper out of it, to remind us all that He makes us brave.
i pray that this year is characterized by us not sitting in fear, but stepping in faith. i don't want to do something or make decisions out of fear, i want to be brave.
love you all, hope you're encouraged!
[the wallpaper is formatted for iphone 6, but i think it'll work on most phones! also, if you do have an iphone 6, when setting this as your wallpaper, make sure to turn off the zoom and reposition if necessary :)]
rather than setting a specific goal like 'i want to read a book a month...' i just set out to slowly change my habits one decision at a time - instead of grabbing my phone, i'd grab a book instead. it's crazy and encouraging to see the difference that little switch made last year. i read eleven and a half books [sorry coco chanel, i lost interest halfway thru. oops. not pictured: c.s. lewis biography and amy poehler's 'yes please'] and listened to one audiobook [mindy kaling's 'is everyone hanging out without me?'].
i tried to mix it up between fiction and non fiction, spiritual and secular, young adult and adult. i think my favorite book from the year was 'walking on water: reflections on faith and art' by madeleine l'engle. oh. my. gosh. the woman is a genius but it's not so heady that you have to reread every paragraph just to understand what she's saying. i think her view on faith and art and mixing the two is profound and inspiring. i'd say it's a great read for anyone, but a must read for artists.
this year, i plan on doing the same thing - read more, zone less... so i'm kicking off the year with creativity inc. by ed catmull and the last battle by c.s. lewis. good ol' clive staples is always on my reading list.
what are you guys reading? i'd love to hear what your favorite books are or what you'd recommend! happy reading!
p.s. i feel a sense of responsibility for listing these books and somewhat promoting them... so i have to add a disclaimer to say that i really can't recommend amy poehler's book to you guys... she has a lot of great things to say, a lot of personal and inspiring things to say, but there's a lot of adult content and language in there too... so i don't personally recommend it.
January 1, 2015
do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.
behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together,
that they may see and know, and consider and understand together
that the hand of the Lord has done this...
so grateful for promises like these especially at the start of a new year... places where the sun has scorched and water has forsaken, God will cause new, unexpected, and impossible things to grow...
a road in the wilderness, a river in the desert, the cypress and pine tree side by side.... obvious, incredible things that will cause people to look at who He is and what He's done, because there's no way we could do something like that! He will work miracles in our midst for His name and for His glory this year.
2015 is going to be great... happy new year everyone!!
December 31, 2014
we're all walking that small but significant bridge that connects us from the edge of 2014 to the untouched path of 2015. it's untouched, but there is a path. a path that's already been made - hewn out of rock, dug out of dirt, paved with footsteps of the One who created it all. there's so much peace in knowing that we don't forge on alone, we are guided and carried and whispered to all along the way.
"for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." ephesians 2:10
do you ever just feel like a certain verse is somehow significant for you, in that specific time, even though it doesn't quite apply to your life right then and there? let me explain...
i first 'got' this verse in april. of course, i've read that verse a hundred times, but for some reason, when a pastor in california was teaching on that verse, it rang in my heart like an alarm clock - "write me down! this is important!" and it wasn't a verse that i necessarily needed at the time. in april, i wanted reassurance and promises that God wasn't going to forsake me because i felt abandoned. i felt nearly left for dead spiritually and physically. that might sound dramatic and i don't mean it to, but it's just how i felt - i felt betrayed by the church, i felt overrun by anxiety and i lost so much weight that i couldn't really leave the house on my own because of how weak i felt.
all that to say, when i sensed bells and whistles going off when i read ephesians 2:10, i was like... ok, Lord... i'll write it down, but you know that doesn't really apply, right? coincidentally, i had just bought a new journal because i knew i was in a night season that i wanted to document and learn from.... so that verse ended up being the first thing i wrote, right in front.
as the year went on, and i continued to write my struggles and prayers, that verse began to sprout up everywhere and became kind of a common thread through all that i was learning, bringing comfort and promise and reassurance that God had a plan. even as i stumbled and crawled through valleys and deserts, i started to believe that i was walking the very steps He had prepared for me instead of feeling like i was being attacked. i knew i was meant to walk that threatening path because i had to rely on Him to illuminate each and every step. i depended on Him completely maybe for the first time ever. i learned what it meant to wholly trust Him even when He seems so silent.
knowing how much time i spend on each painting and how much thought goes into one blog post, the idea that i was HIS workmanship, His to refine and His to tune, encouraged me in such a new way... if i was His work created for good works, then anything He allows in my life is going to equip me and shape me to better fulfill His purpose. He hasn't forgotten the work He has begun in you or me. whatever this has year brought you, whether hardship or celebration, or a mix of both, it's all for good and it's all important.
love you all!
two giant highlights of 2014 were: 1) a 3 week trip to california and 2) a 10 day trip to paris.... i still can't believe i was strolling around the city of lights, sketching by the siene and eating baguettes every. single. day. someone take me back!
most people have asked us what had to be our favorite thing about paris... which monument or museum or activity really stood out... and i have to say, just being there. soaking up the romantic vibe along the river, the creative chemistry felt in museums, eating croissants and ratatouille [yes, of course we had to eat ratatouille! thanks pixar :)], sitting at cafes, drinking coffee and people watching, navigating our way through the metro stations, eating ice cream then getting lost in the vast gardens of versailles, trying desperately to sound like locals when we ordered, watching the sunrise above the rooftops from our sixth-story room, walking in the rain at midnight, wishing an old peugeot would appear to whisk us away to the 1920s where we could meet our literary idols...
even as i write those little moments, i'm filled with a sense of wonder and appreciation. i can't believe we were able to walk hand in hand in such a magical city.
a few snapshots of our dreamy parisian vacation...
P. T. L.
praise the Lord for His goodness and strength, His faithfulness and patience to teach me this year... and thank YOU, friends, for joining me in all of it. your words of encouragement have meant so much to me and i hope my little journey has somehow encouraged or inspired or pointed you to Jesus along the way.
i'm so thankful for each of you and i look forward to continuing our adventure together in 2015... an uncharted land of endless opportunities just waiting to be discovered! yay!!
so now, let's be on our way, light some sparklers, scribble down some resolutions, clank some glasses, kiss our loved ones, and throw some confetti!
hope you all have a safe and sparkly new year's eve!
+ a glance at 2014:
some paper goods:
December 22, 2014
it's not every day.... or even every year... that you get to dress up in beautiful princess [wedding] gowns and model with your prince of a husband in the most gorgeous setting, put together by a dream team of vendors.
photography by: jeremiah + rachel
styled by: goldfinch events
florals by: mum's flowers
bridal gowns + pieces provided by: willow bride
gowns by: theia couture
ethereal crown by: melinda rose design
it was a magical afternoon, until the clock struck midnight when my gown turned into jeans and a sweater. speaking of cinderella.... who's excited for into the woods?! i can't wait!
December 19, 2014
my friends over at closer to love photography just revamped their blog and added a new section called grains of sand... where lots of fellow christian creatives will be pouring out their hearts and teaching us what they're learning...
and i'm so excited and honored they asked me to contribute! check it out here if you'd like, and hopefully it encourages you! chatting about our journey through trials, refinement, and God's careful handiwork in every step!
happy friday... and oh my gosh, christmas is in six days!!! yay!