ashley_blog-goalsJune through August are months for sunning poolside, coffee & a good book on a warm, quiet morning and the sounds of an Ohio summer tiptoeing through my open windows at night. Summer is meant for relaxing and rejuvenating.

But not this summer.

This summer, I’ve got GOALS. Sure, I will engage in purposeful relaxation and rejuvenate my soul for my upcoming Salvadorian adventure, but there is work to be done. A few short months ago, I was looking to June 2015 saying to myself, Okay, there is much to be done before  I can move, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I will worry about those bridges when I get to them.

Well, my friends, those bridges are within eyesight and I need to prepare myself to cross them.

• SUMMER GOALS 2015  ➳

I have a big, bold prayer to be moved to San Salvador by the end of December 2015. Yeah. That’s THIS year. Great Commission Ministries (GCM), my missionary employer, requires that I fundraise a year’s worth of my salary before I can move. Don’t ask me how much that is because as of today, I have zero clue. I go to training in Orlando June 1-8 and it is there where I will learn my yearly salary and exactly how much money I must raise before I leave. The Salvadorian Youth go to a conference in Honduras every December and I believe going with them would be an amazing start to my ministry. I also get to spend 4 weeks in beautiful Colorado for culture training in September. But before I can register for this training, I must raise 80% of my funds.  If this big, bold prayer is going to happen, I need God’s big, bold hands all over my fundraising efforts. Challenge accepted.


There was a time in my life when I found very few reasons worth getting out of bed in the morning. My mom had recently died from endometrial cancer and my heart was broken. I knew God was there and loved me, but I needed a visible, tangible reason to dry my tears and put my feet on the ground.

Enter in Dewey.

Dewey is my 4-year-old Boston Terrier. He is my best friend in all definitions of the term. He wants to hang out when everyone else is busy, dries my tears with his cuddles and comforts my soul with his eyes. Dewey is there when my humans aren’t and loves me when my humans can’t.

The little man deserves a few carefree, mud-covered, butt-sniffing hours at the park each week.


This time last year, I was ripped. I had dedicated my life to various, fun, creative ways of exercising and my friends were part of the experience. Whether we were doing yoga on paddleboards, running races dressed as pretzels or kickboxing in downtown Columbus, most of my social activities somehow involved working out.

And then I got involved at Rock City Church. Suddenly my priorities changed and I wanted to contribute to the church just as much as I was consuming. Evening yoga classes were replaced with Youth Leadership meetings, volunteering to serve at multiple church services replaced Sunday afternoon Bootcamp, and my beloved Wednesday evening outdoor Kickboxing & Hip Hop classes in the heart of the city were swallowed whole by Rock City Youth Nights.

I am happy about my life’s new focus, but I definitely miss seeing my friends everyday and the feeling of accomplishment after a good sweat session. I don’t know if I will ever be able to go back to my 6+ workouts per week, but I would like to get back into the gym, see the people I love and share in the gratifying pain of growing solid muscle. Plus, I will need a break from the full-time work of fundraising. If I am to put my body, spirit and soul through the intense life change God has planned for me, my spirit and soul need to be healthy and my body needs to be ready to kick butt and take names for Jesus at a moment’s notice.


My father has always been my #1 supporter. I love my dad more than my limited English language allows me to say. He and I have had our peaks and valleys, but at the end of the day, I am my daddy’s girl and I am going to miss him grieviously.

Very soon, I will not be able to call on Dad to dog-sit Dewey, change a hard to reach light bulb, or answer one of the hundreds of questions I have weekly about how to be a grown-up. In a few short months, we will only be able to see one another through a computer screen. I am grateful for the blessing of technology, but it will not be the same as seeing his giant smile, smelling his delicious, home cooked spaghetti sauce or throwing my arms around his broad shoulders.

I want to take every opportunity possible to spend quality time with my dad before our kitchen chairs are pushed thousands of miles apart.


“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

So now I have goals. As each day passes, I realize more and more that nothing I do or hope to do is possible without God’s intervention. God provided financial and prayerful supporters who enabled me to go to San Salvador TWICE last summer. Because of those visits, I was able to hear God’s call for my life and fall in love with a country and people that will forever be a part of me. God provided time in my schedule to complete GCM’s extensive and intense application. And God is daily providing patience and perseverance to strengthen me until I can actually make my move south.

The most important relationship I have is the one I have with God. He calms my anxieties, celebrates my successes and provides for my every need. Just like any relationship, it requires spending quality time together. It has been my goal since June of last year and will continue to be my daily goal for the rest of my life to become closer God by daily spending time with Him in His Word. The days when I am most busy and can’t possibly squeeze one more thing into my schedule are the days when I will need Him the most.

Many people look to summer as a time kick back and throw away their To-Do list. But not me. The next few months will be spent turning my To-Do List into a To-DONE List.



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