Explosive Alert!

One of the things I hope to do on this site is smile about some of the things that have happened to me and are unique to my situation as an amputee.

My husband and I were in the Philadelphia airport en-route to Seattle.  Now anyone familiar with prosthetics would be well aware that airport security is one of the most difficult parts of traveling!  On an easy day you get a wand, a pat-down personal enough to make your father blush (his words not mine!) and will be sent on your way with an apologetic smile. On this particular day, however, I was asked to enter the 3D scanner with my prosthesis.  I bravely entered with both hands above my head and a queasy-but-knowing smile.  My crutches were taken from me and scanned as well.

After coming through I was then “wanded”.  (I just want to stop and say here that if security personnel are given wands they should at least add a little “bippity boppity boo” song during the process for victimized patrons as myself!  A little bit of something to make me feel a less in touch with reality would be great.)  Anyway, they asked me to lift my shirt a tad so that they could swab my prosthesis for explosives.  I chuckled and obliged without hesitation.

The next thing I knew there was an “EXPLOSIVE ALERT” on the screen in front of me and I was being rushed off in quarantine to a small private room.  I jokingly told the security officer, “No worries, I wasn’t playing with fireworks”.  But she didn’t think that was funny.  I could tell by her curt, “Ma’am, I would advise you say as little as possible right now” accompanied by a brief pat on the shoulder that summed up her expression of “good luck”.

After further discussion including an argument over whether it was really necessary to make me pull my pants down any further or to take my leg from me to scan it or take it apart they decided to let me go.  Their justification for this was, “Those pants can’t get much tighter, I don’t think there is anything hiding here.”  (Yes, I should have been horrified as I stood silently wanting to remind them that I could still hear them but honestly I couldn’t have been happier at that moment to be free!  Regardless of criticism, insult, or bruised ego I was about to be free!)

One final swab of my clothes, crutches, and shoes and I was returned intact to my family. In the midst of this I realized WHY I tested positive for explosives.  A few weeks prior to our trip I had purchased a .22 Rifle for my husband as a birthday gift.  We had been shooting targets in the woods behind our house and when I came in to remove my prosthesis I must have had residue from the bullets on my fingers! As I bounced lightly the rest of the way to gate A2 I realized somehow I forgot to remove the pocket knife from my purse.  But oh well, at least they found the explosives!

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*Ashly P Ash

Woman of the Mundane

Ashly P Ash

This is a humorous poem about waiting for things…

Woman of the Mundane

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As I perform the tasks of each day

I seriously wonder if I’m headed the right way

Is there a purpose in all things mundane

Or am I driving myself insane

I wonder what outcome the average day will have

During my evening prayers and applying salve

To shine, to preach, to share God’s Grace

When I don’t even have a child in this place

Wondering as I wonder down grocery store aisles

Or even when sorting through dirty laundry piles

I long to reach out and touch the masses

Right after next week cleaning passes

Preparation for greatness is what I am told

But I hope it comes before I’m too old

I try to be like the woman in Proverbs 31

But surely she had to long for some fun

I’m ready to conquer and ready to bless

Soon, I know it will start right after this test

Resting and believing in every day scrubbing

Why this is the most basic act of loving

*Ashly P Ash

Tears in a Bottle

Ashly P Ash

As a woman that has struggled to have children, a poem about this desire.

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Tears in a bottle

There are bottles on heaven’s shelf
holding my tears and wishes for you
someday soon I know I’ll hold you close
at least for now I’ll loudly boast
All in my bottle on heaven’s shelf

Never! the voices inside me speak
but my heart and soul cry out to heaven
to drop a bundle of joy out of the sky
so that I can experience a lullaby
All in my bottle on heaven’s shelf

Each tear is gathered from angels above
Moment by moment I know what I would share
I would pour into you the lessons of life
Promise the lord will be with you each strife
All in my bottle on heaven’s shelf

I dare to hope boldly before the throne
Abandoned to the King void of all pride
casting away the crown of dignity
give me this one to love infinitely
All in my bottle on heaven’s shelf

And deep in the nighttime nursing alone
enveloped in darkness and candlelight
I’ll sing of the goodness of He who made thee
my inheritance rock-a-bye baby indeed
All in my bottle on heaven’s shelf

The sacrifice of body and soul and mind
to push each generation on past mine
the love and laughter of a family
to leave some sort of good legacy
All in my bottle on heaven’s shelf

A little pearl presented as rare
formed layer by layer from mother’s trials
known to become the rarest of gems
worth diving deep for a glimpse of them
All in my bottle on heaven’s shelf

*Ashly P Ash

To See and Be Seen…A Journey of Intimacy

This is a bible study to take a deeper look at being known by God and knowing God.  Intimacy begins with Him and the realization that He knows and loves us!
*Ashly P Ash

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Read Psalm 139:1-6

 God is Omniscient/All-Knowing!

How well does God know you?

What aspects of the Psalmist’s life does God know?


 Is God’s knowledge of you comforting or intimidating?  How so?

Psalm 139:7-12

 God is Omnipresent/Everywhere

Consider people who have tried to hide from God (Gen 3:8-10 Adam & Eve, Jonah 1:1-3); why did these people try to hide?  Did it work? What was God’s response to them? 

 

Have you ever tried to run from God or hide something from Him? Have you ever tried to hide from yourself?  Because if we can’t hide from God that means we also cannot hide from ourselves…


Is there an area in your life that is in darkness that you need to bring to God, ask for forgiveness, and allow His light to shine into? 

Psalm 139:13-18

God is Omnipotent/All powerful!

What does God’s intimate knowledge say about God’s purpose for each of us?

 

How does the Psalmist respond to God’s intimate knowledge of his life?

 

While God has planned our days we have a choice!  Is there a way you may have strayed from a part of God’s plan for your life?  Is there a purpose that you have not yet fulfilled, forgotten that it was a goal to move towards?  Is there an area of your life which you are not following God’s plan? 

 

List a few simple ways (consider WWJD) to get “back on track” with God’s plan:

Psalm 139:19-24

 “The Psalmist aligns himself with God by counting those who hate God as enemies.  How do you respond to people who speak against God?” (Bible Study Magazine May/June Issue)

The Psalmist closes by inviting God to examine him for any offensive ways.  Do you intentionally ask God on a regular basis to examine your heart like this?

Take a moment to ask God this question:  Lord, examine my heart.  Is there any way, action, thing, that is a part of my life that is offensive to you? 

Let’s take a moment to stop and pray.  Anything that the Lord shows you jot down below.  You may share this for prayer at the end or you may keep this between you and the Lord.

Luke 12:22-28

                 God knows what we need before we even ask!  (Mt 6:8)

                 God knows everything about us and always has yet He STILL declares us valuable!

 Thought for Closing:  We know that God knows every intimate detail about us!  He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent!  How much time do we spend in our prayer life and relationship getting to know Him better?  He knows all about us, how much do we know about Him through the Holy Spirit?!

 CHALLENGE:  EXAMINE MY HEART, LORD! 

 Souces: Bible Study Magazine, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, Zondervan Bible Commentary

The 1st and Greatest Commandment

This Bible study is about Loving God first and foremost in our life!   When our life is in bunches we can only choose to love and worship one thing at a time!  Make God a priority!
*Ashly P Ash

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Read Exodus 32: 1-30

 –          When did the Israelite’s decide to build an idol?

 –          Think of idols that may arise in your life, or things you may struggle with/against.  Are they linked at the root to a time you felt God delayed?  (Delayed in answering a need, a fear, or a time you felt utterly alone in a certain area?)

 –          Note in V. 2. when creating an idol it TAKES AWAY from us!  It does not ever add to our life or give us what we think it can!  What idols can we face today, and what do we think they can do for us vs. what they actually do?

 

IDOL                                            LIE WE BELIEVE                             TRUTH

1. Ex. Money above God                  Security                                                Worry, Fatigue, Anxiety

2.

3.

4.

 –          V. 5 – Sometimes when we realize we are doing something wrong we will try to justify it by twisting the truth.  Using the examples above what are some ways that we can in our mind try to justify using them as idols?   

IDOL                                            LIE WE BELIEVE                             TRUTH

1.  Ex. Money above God     God wants me to provide                God is our provider

2.

3.

4.

 –          What was Moses’ response to God’s wrath and desire to destroy the Israelites?

 –          God promised to make Moses a great nation after he destroyed the Israelites, what words describe Moses’ rejection of this plan?

 –          Do you think Jesus intercedes in this way for us?  (Think of Him being tempted in the wilderness and offered all the kingdoms by Satan, yet He refused!)

 –          Do we intercede for others in this way, placing their good before our own (in love)?

 (CRefrence Note:  Numbers 5:11-31 an unfaithful wife is made to drink dust, Zondervan Bible Commentary links these together with the picture being the Israelites were like the unfaithful wife and made to drink the dust of their idol…)

 –          When Aaron is confronted by Moses how does he respond?  When God confronts us with something how do we respond?  (Think of Psalm 139, we cannot hide from ourselves or from God!)

 –          Just as Moses drew a line for those on the Lord’s side, Jesus also drew a line asking who was on Mercy’s side?  How does it feel to know that we are on the Mercy “side of the line” because Jesus went and made atonement for us and not by anything that we could do?

 WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT THE NEW TESTAMENT SAYS ABOUT IDOLS?

                Colossians 3:4-14 – “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

  • (Dictionary Note: Scythian = Savage/Barbarian)

–          Do these verses describe some changes you have made in your life?

 –          How do we put off the “old self” and put on the “new self”?

Matthew 22:34-40 – “34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

–          What idols have we made in our life? 

–          What attitudes or mindsets do we have that are not subjected to God? 

–          Is there anything we place above God?


CHALLENGE:  Ask God to show you any areas of faulty thinking.  Allow Him to show you where it stems from that you may seek forgiveness but also receive guidance from the Holy Spirit to “rewire” a new and holy thought process and attitude towards the situation.

Focus on Dancing

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)

I often get a lot of questions from people in regards to happiness.  I tend to be a very happy and upbeat person most of the time. I’m sure my family has seen the darker side of my struggles as I muddle through difficult times; but in general, within a few hours of tragedy I have handed it to Jesus and allow him to turn it into a triumph.  My life hasn’t been an easy one and the fact that I lost my right leg to cancer at the age of four certainly makes for an obvious “question mark” as I walk about smiling despite the obvious tragedy that has befallen me.  Some people think that I am happy because I lost my leg at a young age and therefore grew up knowing no other way of life. While that certainly would be ideal I can honestly say nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, growing up without a leg means missing out on much of what other children and adolescents experience.  The difficulty performing every day tasks certainly doesn’t set up parameters for a happy life.  Neither does the blatant reminder every step I take that I am not “normal” or even capable of doing things such as carrying my own beverage without assistance or devices of some sort. (Jeremiah 31:13) So the question usually remains, “You have one foot in the grave, quite literally, and are still not bitter?!”

Let’s first take a bit of a journey into my everyday mindset.  My husband and I recently took a trip to Alaska.  We stood before glaciers in awe and filled with wonder as hundreds of waterfalls cascaded down the mountains around us.  As our ship sailed through the bay sea otters and bald eagles floated past us on icebergs.  Orcas and humpback whales were everywhere as they surfaced.  Dolphins followed our ship and schools of salmon raced for river mouths in order to spawn. We hiked on a mountain top and watched the morning dew drip from the grass and leaves.  The fog lifted slowly and revealed to us the surrounding valleys and river that the Gold Rush started in!  In short, we realized exactly how insignificant we are in the great scheme of the created world.  (Psalm 24:1)

Our God is so magnificent and amazing that while I stood on the mountain with my hands and heart raised to Him not a single person in the entire city below could see me I was so far away.  Yet there I stood with the God of all creation watching and even caring about my small gesture of worship!  (Matthew 6:18) I realized how busy God must be maintaining all of His creation and He cared about me in such a microscopic way during that hike.  I felt such a peace in my heart and body as the trail was rough and the prosthetic leg started to rub me in all the wrong places.  The Lord cared even for my pain and nudged me towards resting places and gave me the strength to go on.  Small sights of beauty seemed to throw themselves in my path to give me a moment of pleasure as I pressed onward.  I realized more clearly than ever that I am not simply an error or screw up because of having one leg; I am a part of this great creation!  Not as a “survivor”, not as a “one-legged girl” (AKA Pirate), but rather a uniquely created human being with a purpose in this world only I can fill.  I am not accepted in spite of my disability, but because of who I am through my disability.  The God of this entire earth not only cares about me but sent His son to die that I might live life fully and enjoy it. (Jeremiah 1:5, Job 33:28)

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It is so easy to be joyful when we are surrounded by the grandeur of nature or being waited on hand and foot in a dining room.  But you know the thing that impressed me the most was after we returned home.  With the house freshly cleaned I stood in the kitchen working on the first meal since our return.  I stood over my great grandmother’s cast iron pans and looked around.  I saw the remains of our fruitful garden from the kitchen window, the coziness of fall decorations scattered about my home, the dogs laying expectantly at the very edge of the kitchen in hopes for a call or a crumb…and I realized I felt the very same feeling that I felt when standing before the glacier.  I was in awe.  In awe of a God that would bless me with so much in such small ways!  In awe that no matter what the circumstances are I have the peace and joy of the Lord within me!

Why am I full of joy?  Why am I always smiling despite being thrown under a train from the age of four?  Because I decided along the way that God would captain that train and I wouldn’t be crushed but I would be a co-captain!  (Romans 12) Jesus died for me to have a purpose and to fill the one spot in the Body of Christ that no one else can fill (two legs, no legs, survivor or celebrity); only I can fill the place designed for me.  As I grow older I realize that because of this I can accept my past, present, and future without worry or fear, and along the way encourage others with the simplest act of my present smile despite past pain.

Happiness, I believe, is dependent upon circumstances.  Things make us happy, people make us happy, and situations make us happy.  But joy flows from within.  It springs forth from inside of us because it is a fruit of the Spirit.  No matter the circumstance, no matter the situation we can live in a state of joy.  (Zech 2:10) Not because of denying the circumstances but because we know our life is surrendered to the God of all creation and He alone is in charge of the outcome.  He alone will work every evil thing that has happened to us in our life for good. (Rom 8:28) It is awful to see people suffer from so many things that they didn’t deserve.  Traumas, handicaps, abuse, etc. are rampant in our world today but I know in my heart that while God didn’t intend for these things to happen to us He will make our paths so straight that when we finish the race of life our outcome will be supernaturally better than it ever could have been had we remained untainted.  (Prov 4:11) How is this possible?  Because our God is the creator and He will create a beautiful journey and polish a shining finish brighter than we can imagine!

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Instead of focusing on the fact that I have one foot in the grave I choose to focus on the fact that I have one foot in the future!  As long as I remember I have always wanted to dance and I believe I am whole in Christ and will one day dance before Him!  (Psalm 30:11) So I ask you to smile with me, express the joy that is within you and let go of your circumstances.  Be blessed and focus on every good thing so that you too may bless others.  Let’s dance together through the finish line!

“I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”(Acts 20:24)

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” (Psalm 126:2)

*Ashly P Ash