Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thoughts Running Through My Brain as I Become a Nomad

Looking Back...

What a special summer. 2 solid months in Peoria surrounded by my family. I really don't have any friends in Peoria to catch up with so all my time has been with family and I kind of like it that way... And so does my mom. 😊

Loved watching my Huddy Buddy learn to roll over, eat "food", and laugh. So thankful for this solid chunk of time I got during his 5th and 6th month of life. It's sad to think it probably won't happen again but I'm thankful for the time I had. Next time I see this sweet face he'll be running around. And Carolyn promised me his first word would be "Ash."  Well... maybe his 3rd... 

Loved quality time with Zack and Carolyn: dinners on the patio, Wine Walk at Junction City, letting Z test his new found culinary skills (I think he thought he was breaking me in for what I might experience abroad by serving me Rocky Mountain Oysters last night) and catching up when they picked up Hudson at the end of the day. I love watching you raise him...he's blessed to have you for parents!

It was super sweet to be around for the festivities of Luke and Rachel's engagement. A year ago, NO ONE in our family could have fathomed Luke would be getting married anytime soon.  But his Dallas office apparently knew better... Most predicted he'd be engaged within a year of moving to Dallas...and he hadn't even met Rachel yet!  Crazy how The Lord brought these two together and I was blessed to get them to myself his past weekend in Aspen. You both have exciting adventures ahead of you. Will be praying for you...  See you on your wedding week!

Ah... My sweet mama. What would I do without my best friend? Not sure that spending every day ... all day...with her will make up for not seeing her for 9 months and challenging communication overseas... Although we do have a Plan A (Skype), B (What's App) and C (Google Voice).  Thanks, Mama, for loving me unconditionally and for all the time you have spent and will spend praying for me. I know this to be the greatest gift a person can give. 

Quality time with my Pops!  I'm not sure why our relationship has been a challenge to both of us... Oh wait... Maybe it's because we are so much alike... But I love that we have come so far in accepting one another the way we are and learning about one another. This summer we came up with a plan to have coffee on the front porch a few mornings a week. I LOVED this time... learning about my Dad, his heart, his experiences, what brings him joy and what challenges him. Already looking forward to 7:20 am on Thursday, May 15!

Grandpa Dale!  This man is incredible!  The week I was backpacking through the Rockies, he was at a dude ranch in Shell, Wyoming. We all agree he came back 10 years younger! And now he's taking off for an east coast cruise.  I hope I'm loving life like he is at age 85 (give or take a few years). He spent the summer making an incredible family heirloom... A table made from fence posts from the farm.  And he managed to fit in a trip with me to the new Riverfront Museum to see the Ansel Adams exhibit. Pretty sure the direct quote as we were driving away was, "Well, don't have to go back there anytime soon" but I cherished the time he shared with me as he talked about his CAT days and seeing downtown change as we walked through the Peoria History exhibit. And his sweet friend, Jo. I'm so thankful for the relationship she has with Gramps and the way she loves our fam. She's a gem!

Grandma and Grandpa Weaver. They have given our family an amazing gift in the community they have created around the farm for my entire lifetime.  And I love that it is being carried on through the generations.  Their love for each other is so sweet.... Grams just reminded him at lunch the other day that she meant it when she said "in sickness and in health."  Not sure who logged more hours at the pool this summer, Grandpa    or the Sutter girls. I hope I am as sweet and content at 90 as he is and that I'm as patient as my Grandma. They are love. 

Pause: if you think that my eyes and nose are dry since I've started writing this post, you are wrong. 

The rest of the Weaver Clan: Chuck and Laurie... Any time I get with them is cherished and they were so generous with their time... Friday mornings at Panera, dinner on the Terrace, lunch at the pool, church with their fam... I always leave with something to think about and be challenged by.  Loved climbing with Annie and Mark and celebrating Travis and his summer of being 21!  The Sutter fam... Love those sweet girls and their parents. I love "Amy chats" at the pool. She's always real... And fun. She's real fun. And the Cagwin family. If it weren't for this summer I'm not sure that I would ever really know my cousin Shelley's girls, Kylie and Ella. And that would have been my loss... BIG TIME. What an awesome duo in their own light. Kylie taught me about raising her cow and Ella shared her humor and zest for life.  Sorry we didn't finish Harry Potter... Can we have a date next spring?  And if you ever want to know about the practice of Bovine Chiropractics... their dad, Jeff is one of the best!  Learning curve was HUGE on that conversation.  Pool time with Katie and Drew...thanks for coming to the rescue with Trav to fix the flat!  And family gatherings at the pool with the rest of my Aunts and Uncles (minus Phyl and Don visiting Sarah in Germany...sad I didn't get more time with them!) and cousins and 1st cousins-once-removed. 

I love that at family gatherings there are 2 sticks of butter placed side by side, the  perfect width to roll your corn on the cob on. 

I discovered that humidity reminds me of the feeling you get when you walk into a sauna. I actually kind of like it. 

I didn't finish any of the 20 books I brought home... Or scan the 20 photo albums I brought home. I know mom will be thrilled to see them still in my room when she gets home. 

That "rest" part of sabbatical... Yeah... Didn't happen. I think I might have to wait til Nepal in October for that. But loved every minute of my non-restful summer. Really... can't think of a minute I didn't like (except for hours on the phone arranging travel plans with Amercan Airlines and ensuring I had health insurance ... only $219 for the year! What?!?). 

Despite what my mom's friends may have thought, I loved Technology Bootcamp with Clair, Kristy and Lindsay. There is hope for learning new things!

Visiting different churches in Peoria made it clear that Christian fellowship is alive. Loved so much about Richwoods, Bradley Epworth, Grace Pres, Northwoods and Bethany. And, in thankful for the spiritual roots that were grown in my life from First United Methodist. Wow... Youth group memories are flooding back. Good stuff. 

And now...

Looking forward. 

I'm going to have very much of a love/hate relationship with this bag...

...and it's contents for the next 9 months.

Only regretful planning is doing a 2 week trek across northern Spain... Starting in the Pyrenees at the BEGINNING of this 9 month adventure.  Already strategizing how to temporarily lighten the load. Uncle Don, might take you up on that Sherpa offer! 

Whoa!  This is actually happening. Almost exactly a year ago I was chatting with my friend Annette after a hike. I said, "I know what your answer will be so I'm afraid to ask, but what do you think about taking a  year off teaching and traveling abroad"?  And now here we are. I'll see her in Paris in 24 hours and the adventure will begin! 

I can't wait for the people I will meet, places I will see, food I will experience, conversations I will have, ways I will be challenged and undoubtably changed...

Which reminds me... I'm really not doing this because I want to change... I am really happy with my life.  But I know that having an experience like this means that change is inevitable... And I must remember goal #2: An Open Heart an aTeachable  Spirit. 

I don't have any keys. I have nothing to lock up. The only things I have to protect will be on my back. Lets hope, especially then, that they will not be take from me.

Many ask what I'm most excited about... I'm excited about it ALL. There is really nothing I'm looking forward to more than another. 

God's provision is amazing and has always been present in my life. A year ago, I would never have dreamed I would have saved the money to do this trip... And yet The Lord has provided... And much through people's generosity that so often came unexpectedly. Thank you, Lord... And thank you generous people!  

I love that after being gifted the book in January, 2003, that I just finished the "40 day challenge" of reading "The Purpose Driven Life" ... yesterday. (So I guess I did finish one book this summer.) The timing is impeccable as I am hoping to use the next nine months to figure out how to use the gifts The Lord has given me to live a purposeful life upon my return. This is going to be fun!  

My flight leaves in 2 hours, so while I normally proof read my blog posts, it's not happening this time. Thanks for being forgiving of typos. 

Next up... "Meet Annette!"  I'm excited to introduce you to my travel buddy! 


  1. Ash hope you have a great time, and I can't wait to read more of your blogs. We did have a pretty amazing summer at the pool etc. Love you so much and I am so very proud of you cuz...
    Katherine Crouch

  2. Ashley, I am SOOOOO excited for you and soooo inspired by your writing! I will be praying for adventure, change and safety!

  3. Ashley your blogs have been so insightful, faithful and so inspirational!! I too am so excited for you and in awe of you too! I am praying for your travels and can't wait for your next blog. Thanks so much for taking us along and God bless you!!

    1. To my daughter...I will miss you greatly...but I have every confidence that The Lord will provide all that is needed and direct your footsteps. These past months have been a true gift much sharing life together... Priceless! Thank you for ALL your helps...but most of all thanking God because He knew we would need each other in this life . I am most grateful ...and now excited for your adventures and journey! ...and your safe return home!! With all my heart...I love you. Mom Jude24-25

  4. Nice Blog Ashley. Cool adventure, have fun and try as many new things as you can. Don't sleep, eat street food, use public transit, when strangers offer to hang out-go with them, don't surround yourself with too many Americans! This is my best travel advice ;)

  5. This is so awesome Ashley! Praying the Lord richly blesses, protects, and guides you on this journey!

  6. I loved reading your moms post just as much as yours ash! So special...all of it. Know you have prayer warriors here! We know who goes before us and we know who stands behind.....this is such a great truth. ....especially for your journey ahead!

  7. good luck, and i'm gonna follow this blog, including reading the rest of this post. but before i do, i would have loved to catch up while you were in town. #sadface

    best of luck Ashley!

  8. What a wonderful blog. Full of rejoicing ~ thank you for sharing. pa