Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I am so excited to be alive in 2006. This is going to be a great year. I can't wait to spend time with God this year. He is so awesome! If we give Him this year, He will do awesome things in us this year.

We are having a New Year's Day service at church tomorrow evening. I will be speaking about giving up all that we have for all that He has for us. This is a little excerpt of what I will say tomorrow:

'So, as we start 2006, I want this year to count in my life. Life is short. In England, it’s really common to have New Year resolutions. I always get asked every year what my new year resolution is. And every year, it’s something like, I’ll watch what I eat, and I won’t eat too much fatty stuff etc etc. It’s always something to do with how I look or my weight, or how often I brush my teeth. And they never work.

This year, I don’t have a New Year resolution, I have a decision. I want to draw closer to God this year. I want to make the effort to spend time with Him every day. And I want to look at the areas of my life in my spiritual walk with Him that aren’t exactly blossoming. I want to sow into those areas and sow into other people’s lives. I want to look for opportunities to bless others.

In Matthew 25 verses 14-30, in the parable of the talents, Jesus tells us about a man that calls his servants and entrusts his property to them and gives them talents of money to invest. When he returns, he rebukes the lazy servant who buried his talent, and he rewards the servants that invested their talents. I don’t want to be like the lazy servant who wasted and buried his talent.

I might not be the world’s best children’s minister, or the world’s best prophet, or the world’s best healing evangelist. But I want to sow into those areas of my life, and I want to reap a harvest one day.'

I pray that you all have a wonderful New Year, and that you all know how much HE LOVES YOU! You are all incredibly precious! Draw closer to Him this year, while you can.

Lots of love to you all,
Ash x

Sunday, December 25, 2005

In loving memory...

It's Christmas Day. Happy Christmas to all who are reading this. More than anything else, this Christmas day, I am so grateful and thankful that I know Jesus. I really love you Jesus, thank you for coming to this world to die for us and give us the awesome priveledge of being able to have a relationship with the Father.

I had a lovely Christmas morning today. I was really blessed and was given many beautiful presents from dear friends and family. I loved every single present that I was given. Thank you everyone.

At 4pm, Canada time, my sister rang me from England and told me that one of my uncles died (in Iraq) a few hours earlier today. At first, I was really shocked into utter silence - I did not know what to say or think - it was all so surreal. Later, after I put the phone down, I burst into tears. I really love this uncle and I am really upset that he died today. So this, is a little tribute to my uncle.

My uncle Jabar was in his late seventies. He is my dad's brother. My dad is the youngest of 13 brothers and sisters (10 boys and 3 girls). My uncle Jabar was one of my dad's eldest brothers. He was about 18 years older than my dad and practically helped raise my dad. My dad really looks up to him and loves him dearly. I had always heard my dad talk fondly of him and wished I could meet him one day. He lived in Iraq and I didn't, so it was always a dream of mine to meet him one day.

Summer of last year (2004), it was like a dream come true, when my uncle was able to come over, from Iraq to England, to visit us for a couple of months. I really really enjoyed spending time with him. I spent time with him every day of those summer months. I took him out on day trips all over London and chatted with him for hours and played backgammon together. The photo above was taken of us in the gardens of Buckingham Palace when it was open to the public for a couple of weeks that summer.

My Uncle was one of those people that are natural born story tellers. He had travelled all over the world in his younger days and had lots of stories to tell me of those days. He was alive when Iraq was ruled by a King. My grandad used to work for the King, and was also a traveller and a merchant who would travel as far as India to buy things and bring them back to Iraq to sell. My grandad had died before I was born (and my dad had never told me anything about him). So it was very interesting to hear the stories that my uncle was able to tell me of my grandad and of the days of the King. He also told me stories about my dad, when my dad was a child. I loved listening to my uncle. He was very entertaining.

He also owned an antique shop in Baghdad and entertained many foreign visitors in his shop. He was more interested in gaining the friendship of his customers who mainly used to be foreign diplomats than he was in making lots of money. (He would often tell his customers that he wasn't bothered if they didn't buy his antiques that day, because the longer they stayed in the shop, the more value they will have with time). He would offer his customers a drink, food and friendship when they came to his shop, and many of them remained friends with him for years after they had left Iraq.

My uncle was also a very kind man. He never married and he used his wealth to bless his brothers and sisters (and their families) when they were in need. He was especially a big blessing to them during the last 30 odd years of hardship in Iraq. He got on really well with me last summer and was really encouraging to me in so many ways. He promised me that He would show me round everywhere I want to go one day when I visit Iraq. (I always looked forward to that). He told my dad, that if any of us (from my family) were to go back to Iraq one day, he would buy us a house.

He was a very gentle, kind, compassionate, intelligent, creative, funny, entertaining and friendly man with a huge heart and he loved his family and lived to bless others. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend so much time with him when he came to visit us, and to have told him that I love him. I am really sad that I was not able to visit him in Iraq, and I am really really sad that I did not tell him about Jesus, although he did know that there was something different about me. Below is a photo of us taken on a boat cruise on the Thames in London August 2004. I love you Uncle Jabar.

Please pray for my dad when he hears the news. He is working offshore at the moment, and he won't be able to come home to England until Friday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More Snow :)

Wow - I've hardly been on the computer this week. It's been a busy week writing Christmas newsletters and sending them out. I spent about $130 on just postage! Hope I get given some snow boots for Christmas as I'm not sure that I can buy any now :) . Anyway though, it was really nice writing to people. We've had more snow here too and I took better photos this time.

This is Gary and I shoveling snow from the driveway - we don't have one of those snow blower things Alyn, it took us an hour. The worst thing was, as I was shoveling, a piece of ice fell from one of the branches of the tree that I was standing under. It hit me on the head, and it was as hard as a stone. That was painful and my head was still sore two days later. The dog in the picture is Jake - also affectionately known as 'Minnay' by the girls.

This is our road! It may have pot holes - but when covered up with snow, it looks beautiful! Being out in the country, our road isn't exactly top priority for the snow to get plowed (or whatever you call it). However, I like our road looking like this - it is really pretty. The trees look like candy canes!



There is a little bridge on our road and this is where this photo (on the left) was taken!


This is a picture of the icicles on our roof!

This is our back garden (photo below) - you can see the lake in this picture which was taken a couple of days ago. (in actual fact today it is completely covered in snow).


And finally below are photos of our house covered in snow and also of a fire that I got going in our front lounge. It is really beautiful to look out the window and see the gorgeous white snow and be indoors sitting infront of a warm fire. I love sitting by the fire! I love watching the fire. I also love the snow!



Last night, Rachel and I took the girls took the girls to see a LIVE 'Hip Hop' kids dance performance in town. It was really good. There were about 15 different dances performed by different groups of kids. One group even had 2 and 3 year old girls they were so cute! There was a also a group of four boys aged from about 4 to 9. The boys were breakdancing and they were really cute too. Some kids had real talent too. I really enjoyed that.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

This morning I woke up, and there was a little dusting of snow outside. It's midday now, and the snow has gradually been increasing. I love snow!

Here are some pictures of our front garden and back garden taken from inside the house looking out of the window.

Since taking these photos a couple of hours ago, the snow has doubled. There is a gorgeous lake at the bottom of our back garden, but you can't really see it very well from the last photo.

I recently took a 'Colour Quiz' where you basically just have to choose colours and it's amazing that it supposedly can tell a lot about you from the colours you choose. If you want you can click on it below and amuse yourself for a couple of minutes and see what it tells you about you. :)

ColorQuiz.comAsh took the free personality test!

"Desires protection against anything which might ex..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Hello guys! Sorry for the delay in my update but I had been busy this week. I thought I would tell you today about an exciting Nova Scotian activity. I don't know about you, but I get really excited about Christmas (maybe because I never celebrated Christmas as a child).

Over here in Nova Scotia, during the last 3 weeks of November each year, any person is allowed to take part in an activity called 'Branching'.

This is what it's all about:

A couple of Sundays ago after church, I went with a couple from church to a place in the woods for a few hours where there were loads of fur trees. We picked loads of branches from the fur trees and made piles which we later stacked on long wooden poles to make huge bundles (one bundle weighing about a 100 pounds). Then we carried the heavy bundles back to the truck. This was an activity called 'branching'. The idea is that, you then take these bundles to a Christmas shop, and sell them. The shop will buy them off you for 25 cents a pound, so one bundle weighing 100 pounds would get you $25.

I personally only managed to get one bundle on Sunday as it was a new experience for me (I got paid $20 for it). It took me a while to figure out the difference between fur and spruce branches - they looked the same to me at first. We got 6 bundles that day and I rode in the back of the truck with the bundles. Riding in the back of the truck was quite fun as we were driving at 80 km/h. Branching was a truly FUN Nova Scotian experience for me.

This couple though, didn't sell their bundles. They took them home, and then made Chritsmas wreaths from the fur branches. Then they took the wreaths to the Christmas shop and sold those. The shop paid them $2.15 per wreath, so they made more money that way. I managed to make a visit to the Christmas shop on Saturday, and I had a go at learning how to make a wreath.

First, I had to break up the fur branches in smaller sections, and then place them on a circular piece of wire and I wound wire around the branches to hold them in place on the circular wire. I did this from both sides all along the circular wire, and ta da, I had my very first wreath. It took me 25 minutes to do and I was impressed with myself, as the people there, told me it would take an hour to do my first one! I really loved making it. I was so excited, I asked if they could show me how to decorate it and they did.

So I got to decorate my own wreath and this is what it looked like. I'm sorry that the photo quality isn't great, but never mind! The lady then put a price tag on it for $14 dollars and was going to sell it in the shop, but I cheekily asked if I could take it home instead. She very kindly allowed me to.

So in return, I decorated another one for her, which is now up for sale in the Christmas shop :)