Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flashlight-less Wanderer


It's been nearly a year since I've written on this blog...or been a blogger?

To be honest, that word...blogger...which was so much of my identity in years past, doesn't really seem to quite fit anymore. The blogging world has become so saturated, that I feel the last thing anyone really needs is another girl telling you where you can click to buy her cute outfit. Don't get me wrong.....I love makeup and clothes and all the girly things in this life....I mean, I have friends who know me at Sephora - I just don't think that's my calling anymore. 

I had big plans to write about all the things that have been happening but not until the grand finale...the miracle....all the hopes and dreams fell right.into.place. And until then, I moved this blog to a notebook solely for my eyes and God's alone.

Probably not my bravest move but it can be a little scary to share when your content has previously circulated around the greatest face masks of all time and Miley Cyrus's obsession with oddly-placed tattoos. But probably more so because I received my fair share of negative feedback and I tend to go all "bye Felicia!" when I'm hurt. So off the grid we went.  

And it's only been recently in looking through that notebook that it's brought me back here. Perhaps to share what I've learned....am learning still....in the "valley" as we've come to call these places of waiting or dread or sorrow or suffering or sickness.

On the day in and day out, it can feel like you're in the same place, stagnant, unchanging. But in looking back over months and months and years and years of words, it becomes much clearer to see where you've grown....how much you've grown....and times feel you've grown too much!...Ok God, I get it, you're stretching me and growing me. But I am not laffy taffy, enough is enough! 

I've found that we (I) tend to balance God's ability with our reality. We encourage one another to just trust God with the situation but we counter that with our low expectations, disappointments from our past, our doubts that He would actually care about our desires, or our need to help Him out some and move things along.

But time after time...even when my thoughts and fears have run so wild, I have found that there is nowhere He has brought me where He hasn't been there to catch me. It can feel a lot like free-falling or being dropped off in the woods with no GPS or flash light.  (I come from a family where flashlights, milk and masking tape (do they even make that still?!) were life essentials, never to be without...I'm not kidding - I am the current owner of 7 flash lights. There's no stocking that can't be stuffed with a flashlight!) 

And I'm much more of the planner type. I have questions! I need to know where we're going, what we'll do when we get there and where we can stop for snacks. Yet God is making me more of flashlight-less wanderer day by day. 

So outside of this miracle, in this valley the things I have learned, the things gained only by experience, the things that keep showing up in that notebook are here to share:

Choose Joy each day (even in the midst of sorrow)
Rest in knowing He is faithful; He has been and He will be again
Trust in miracles even when you see absolutely nothing miraculous in front of you
Know that His goodness is unshakable

With Love,
Ashley

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hellos

So many hellos and new seasons of life these past few months....

B A B Y  H Y A T T 

About seven-ish years ago, I "met" Chelsea through our blogs. When I moved to Atlanta, we actually got the chance to meet. I still remember the first time I met her. We met at a bar called Five Paces with some of her friends and it was SO loud we couldn't hear each other at all! But we smiled and nodded a lot. 




My first summer in Atlanta 




  Our next few meet-ups were a lot more successful and we've gotten the chance to share so much life together from trips, to Chelsea's wedding, birthdays and Chel's baby shower a couple month's ago. Baby Hyatt is due any day now and I can't wait to meet her!



C O O P E R  J A M E S 


The story of Cooper James starts nearly seven years ago when I met his mom, Whitney, the first week I lived in Atlanta. I moved on a Monday and the next Sunday I went to Buckhead Church. They talked about these Starting Point groups and since I had no friends in this great big new city (Lonely Party of One!) I decided to sign up. There was one spot left and the following Monday I found myself sitting next to Whitney. She was not my initial target. Haha! (She knows this story and we still laugh about it as I was not her initial target either!) I had come up the elevator with a girl named Heather who I had sized up as the perfect new friend. Unfortunately for me, Heather was more interested in becoming besties with Hannah across the room. But f o r t u n a t e l y for me...Whitney and I ended up talking and have been best buds since.






I think Whit and I have shared nearly all of life's major events together. I was even there when her now-husband asked her out on their first date! And just a few weeks ago...we said hello to sweet Cooper James and he is precious and so perfect.



J E S S I C A
And I can't forget Jess....who Whitney and I met through our first small group we did together. Jessica said hello to a brand new year a few weeks ago and we celebrated her at Kyma. We've shared a LOT of birthdays together; thankful for her!








Kyma with Jess and Katie 

(and yes, I cut my hair and yes, I hate it. But after 15 years of the "microtrim" I had quite a few dead ends to lose. My hair dresser promises me it will grow!!) 



Happy Mid-Week friends!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer Reads

To those of you who know me, you may have seen this title and laughed, knowing that I have belonged to a book club for two years in which I have read precisely two books. 

What can I say, I don't like recommended reading....but I do love community tacos and girl talk. 

In the past few months though I've been reading a lot. Ok I'm still the slowest reader probably ever but I have been making my way through some books and especially more as the weather has gotten hotter and my weekends are usually spent poolside. 




Currently: 
I picked up Girl on the Train at Target the other day. It goes against my "no-scary-things" rule (see below) but it was between this and a wall of greasy Fabio-covered romance novels. Target is spot on for basically all of life's needs but their book selection is a little weak. I'm only about a chapter in, but so far it's intriguing.  




Hope Heals: This book is the story of Jay and Katherine Wolf and their incredible journey. Jay and Katherine were married right after college. At 26, six months after the birth of their son and in the month Jay would complete law school, Katherine suffered a massive brain stem stroke that left her severely handicapped. I can't express in words how amazing this couple is. If you're not down for reading but are more of a podcast kinda girl, you can watch their abbreviated story here.  

Fiction & Bios: 
Technically I read Gone Girl last summer but it's worth mentioning. Totally not my type of book. I have a rule that I don't watch or read anything scary that could actually happen in real life but I picked this up last summer and could not put it down. It's so twisted and eery but a page-turner for sure.



I've also been on a biography kick lately. I read The Magnolia Story last month. Calling all Chip and Joanna Gaines fans which, I'm convinced, Is about 98% of the world by now. This story is theirs...how they met, how they started their business, their faith, etc. I love the way they tell the story together, how their personalities play through the pages and just knowing more about their life and their struggles, successes and failures.

Last month I read Unscripted and, you guys, I can't say enough about this book. It's one of those that I purposely read slow...just a chapter or two here or there because I didn't want it to ever end. Ernie Johsnon Jr. is a sportscaster for Turner Sports based here in Atlanta but his story is absolutely incredible. I found myself screen-shotting certain pages so I could go back and re-read parts. You can watch his story here.  

Christian: 

As far as Christian books go, I'm reading Finding I Am by Lysa Terkeurst. This is technically not an actual book but a  Bible study which I didn't know when I purchased it but I have been loving it. It's all about the deepest desires of our heart, and the first chapter is all about bread. I mean who can't get on board with that? 

And last summer I read Waiting on God by Charles Stanley which I've probably picked up and read portions of monthly since then. I have quotes from this book all over my apartment as daily reminders and would recommend it to just about anyone. This book is all about seasons of waiting and how we respond to them. 

Do you have any favorite books you’ve read recently? Despite my sub-par participation in book club, I do love hearing what others have loved lately. I maintain that my participation in tacos and talking have remained at above average levels!  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Weekend Trips

It's hard to believe it's the middle of the year! How does time go so fast yet also seem so slow some days? 

Earlier this year, I was able to go away for two long weekends with some of my favorite girls. The first was back in March where I met up with Kristin and Katherine who live in Charleston. Kristin is one of my dearest and oldest friends. I met her when we both lived in Beaufort after college and when I moved to Atlanta, she moved to Charleston. She introduced me to Katherine who we visited in Charleston nearly every weekend during the summer. Just love time with these girls - so down to earth and fun. 

Kristin & I on the Greenville Bridge 

 Katherine!

Greenville, SC was a good "mid-way" point between our cities and it's such a fun town. The downtown area is beautiful with fun restaurants, boutiques and charming waterfalls everywhere.  

We snacked our way through the city, did some shopping, talked about everything that had happened since the last time we saw one another, celebrated Kristin's engagement and capped our night off with a fun rooftop dinner. This place had fur lap blankets which is a major win in my book since I am always cold. 


Then in April I flew to Raleigh with part of my Atlanta crew, Jessica and Katie, to visit Danielle who moved to Raleigh earlier this year. 
Me & D


 I've shared a lot of life with these girls over the past six years. Always nice to remember that distance can't separate that. Danielle showed us all around her new town, there was also lots of snacking (are you sensing a trend?)

Jessica!


And though I'm a fan of getting dressed up, my favorite part is always that, not the actual going-out, just the getting-ready with girlfriends and talking and laughing.   

Courtney and I also took a pop-up barre class together in April which was so much fun. Even though we didn't have to travel out of town for this one, it still made for a fun weekend.  And it's always a good idea to check out the competition! 


Where's your favorite weekend getaway location? 


XO, Ashley 

Monday, May 29, 2017

My Favorite Face Masks

There's a quote I see often on girl's tanks at the gym or Pure Barre that says "I don't sweat, I sparkle." And if that is you, I applaud you friend. Because that is certainly not me. I'm a full-blown sweater.

But despite spending the majority of my days in workout gear under a dripping layer of sweat...I love fashion and makeup and the girlier things in this life. 



Some days I want to set up camp in the aisles of Sephora so I can try out all the lipstick and nail polish shades. I typically emerge from that store with striped hands in varying shades of pink and stickier than a kid in a candy store from all the glosses. It's a fact that one cannot have too many shades of pink lip gloss! 

But recently, I've become equally fascinated with skin care products. If you tell me it will brighten, lift or leave me with glowy, dewy skin....put it in my cart! One skincare product I've grown to love are face masks. 

Thought I'd share my go-to mask favorites today!   



Boscia Luminizing Black Mask | 
By far my favorite. This one is magic and leaves my skin feeling so clean and really does leave that dewy glowy look. The only mask I've found that truly brightens my skin. As a note, I do not peel this off like other black masks, I just rinse it off. I think peeling is too harsh for your skin. 


Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay |

This one wins smelliest but also most economical. You can get a tub of this stuff for about $10 that will last your entire lifetime. You mix it with apple cider vinegar (unfortunately). But when this stuff hardens, it pulls your skin so tight! Love this mask for cleaning out clogged pores and boosting collagen. 
Side Note: Keep a bottle of Drano nearby if you use this one a lot. Drains and hardened clay aren't the best of friends. 

Seacret Mineral Rich Magnetic Mud Mask |

By far the coolest (and priciest) mask. This one is like a hydrofacial in a jar. It's mud from the dead sea (hence the price) which you apply but the cool part is that you take it off with a magnet! No scrubbing or peeling with this guy. Because of the unique removal process, all the minerals stay on your face instead of washing off. This mask wins "softest skin" for sure. I also saw that Dr. Brandt came out with a version of this and a rumored travel size for $24. 



Fresh Rose Face Mask | 
I was leary to try this one after a bout with Skin Inc's gel mask made for some super angry skin but I gave it a try anyway...(living on the edge over here!) And....I LOVE it! This may rival Boscia as my favorite mask. For one, it's super quick and easy - just 15 minutes. I take this with me when I travel since planes randomly make your face so greasy then immediately dry. It's great for all skin types and it's main purpose is hydration. I have to say, your skin will look glowing after this

||

What's your favorite skincare product or mask? 




Friday, April 14, 2017

THIS LITTLE SPACE





This little space. 

It's housed so many memories. 

The start of so many permanent, lifelong friendships. 

And, most recently, a lot of white space! 

Back in January I received my annual reminder from GoDaddy to renew the hosting for this site and even though I hadn't put pen to paper fingers to keyboard in months, I couldn't just ignore that email. This space is mine and though I doubt anyone is clamoring for this URL, I couldn't take the chance. So, Run With Me lives another year! Though I'm in a season of life where blogging is not part of my life, I don't quite feel done.  

Maybe I'll be back with a little more fitness focus, or a health focus. (Can you believe I don't eat frozen meals anymore?! Chocolate milk and I still remain forever friends....some things never change.) Or perhaps I'll hit  "publish" on the hundreds of posts I've written and saved to draft! 

I n  t h e  m e a n t i m e . . . 

Celebrating another year of Run With Me and  

more importantly, Easter!

I hope you all have a beautiful Good Friday and Easter Sunday.



But on that day
What seemed as the darkest hour
A violent hope
Broke through and shook the ground
And as You rose
The Light of all the world was magnified
And You rose in victory

Hallelujah it is finished 
Hallelujah it is done 
Hallelujah King forever! 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Joy

I've never been a big resolutions girl.

I've tried to be.

I've created neat spreadsheets with goals just pouring out from key category headers: spiritual, physical, financial, personal. But by the middle of the quarter I'd find myself discouraged that I was falling short on my financial goal or I'd failed to make time for that friend I said I would. And it became a burdensome to-do list that landed in the resolutions graveyard.

So I just stopped resolution-ing.
Not that I don't have goals, goals are important. I just don't write them down with a start date of January 1st anymore.

This year, I've decided to focus on just one word, one thing or theme that I want to be present in my life and true of me. And that is joy.

I didn't assign a theme to last year but if I would have, the back 10 probably would have been "survival." And that probably sounds dramatic but it's the word that kept coming to mind as I thought back through my year. I recalled a specific conversation I had with my mom on a particularly hard day about finding joy in each day. She said even if it's seeing a cute dog on the street, even if that's all you have that day, find something to be joyful about. And though that sounds simple enough and perhaps like a New Year's cop-out, that's my focus for the year. No resolutions, just joy.
Joy in the daily, joy in the mundane, joy in the good, joy in the hard.

Yesterday didn't feel like a new day. I didn't pop out of bed with a smile on my face and feet set to dancing. It felt like just another day on the same journey. But, there was a renewed sense of grace and joy.

To a joyful New Year, friends.