Mountains

The Himalayas

The Himalayas are so beautiful. I've seen them in different spots and they've never disappointed me. Traveling in them though can be nerve racking as the roads aren't the best--very narrow and people can drive fast and crazy. But they're still beautiful to look at. :)

One day I'd love to travel to Nepal and do the Annapurna Circuit, which is a hiking trail that goes through a section of the Himalayas. It's a beautiful area, but it'd definitely require me to start getting in better shape! Apparently you can choose what sections you want to do (so you don't have to do the entire trail), but even then it would require for my legs to be stronger.

Do you like to hike? What's your favorite trail and why?

Have a great weekend!

-Ashley

Goodbye Winter

Winter is long gone in Texas and probably most places as well, but I have a few more left to share from my trip to Colorado and Seattle. I haven't even shown a few pictures I got from Portland, Oregon yet! 

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/14, 1/80sec, ISO-400  |  Estes Park, CO

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/14, 1/80sec, ISO-400  |  Estes Park, CO

Hope you are having a relaxed day. Happy Saturday!

-Ashley

He Knows You

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80sec, ISO-640

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80sec, ISO-640

When I am surrounded by mountains, I can't get over how big they are and how small I am. It's the same when I went scuba diving a few years ago. I remember being about 20 meters down, looking around the water that went on forever, realizing how small I am in the midst of such a big world.

In those moments I have to remember that the God that created all of these mountains and the depths of the ocean is for me and even created me along with those mountains! It says in Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV):

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."

Wow! Such an amazing truth. God created all of us and knows who we are--the true us. He created us--He knit all of us in our mother's womb. He wonderfully made all of us. What a treasure to know, that God is not far or aloof, but intricately made each one of us! He wants to be a part of our lives. He didn't just create us and leave us.

Whenever you feel small in a big world, remember that in God's eyes you are important and known! What else more could you want if you already have the approval of the creator of the world?

-Ashley

Colorado Landscape

Canon 5D Mark II; 24mm f/2.8  |  f/16, 1/100 sec, ISO-400

Canon 5D Mark II; 24mm f/2.8  |  f/16, 1/100 sec, ISO-400

When we were in Colorado, I asked my friends to take us by a beautiful landscape and they sure delivered! This is near Estes Park (if not in Estes Park--not completely sure) and even though I was freezing I took some photos of these beautiful mountains. Landscapes are not normally my forte (I prefer pictures of people), but it was fun to capture some of these to share with you all!

-Ashley

Go Climb Your Mountain

Mount Rainier in Washington State |  Canon 5D Mark II; 85mm f/1.8  |  f/4, 1/160 sec., ISO-800

Mount Rainier in Washington State |  Canon 5D Mark II; 85mm f/1.8  |  f/4, 1/160 sec., ISO-800

When I think about the things I want to accomplish in my life, they feel like big mountains in front of me. Sometimes I have an excitement to tackle them and other times...well, it looks a little daunting.  I'm sure you have some of those in your life. :)

Looking back over my short life, it's remarkable to see the mountains we have climbed and succeeded. It's an amazing feeling achieving a huge goal that you didn't think would ever happen. For example, when Joshua and I first got married, we had 64K in debt from a failed business and stupid spending choices. When we realized what bad shape we were in by going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) class, we decided to hike our way up the "debt free" mountain. We climbed that mountain for two years. It was really hard at times--there was setbacks, unexpected expenditures, and the most difficult part was saying "NO" to each other and ourselves. Isn't it funny that we are our worse enemy? That entire trek, we had to work as a team to accomplish our goal and we did it! When we got to the top of that mountain, we realized that every "no" we said was worth it. Every sacrifice we made--whether that was eating beans and rice the entire week or selling everything we owned (ask our friends in Dallas--we had about four garage sales in a year!)--it all paled in comparison to achieving the bigger goal.

Whatever mountain you're staring at right now, you can do it. It might appear impossible. It might even seem foolish to others (we had our fair share of naysayers when we were radical about getting out of debt). But you can do it. Start today. Don't procrastinate because it won't happen by itself. If it's a mountain worth climbing, it will be a wild ride with many challenges, but totally worth it in the end.

Go climb your mountain.

-Ashley

Finding Contentment in Seasons

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  ISO 250; f/3.5; 1/3200 sec

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  ISO 250; f/3.5; 1/3200 sec

The previous picture is very different than this one. When I took this picture, my fingers probably felt like they were going to fall off. It was about 25F/-3C outside and I was literally shaking in my boots. I guess I wasn't cold enough to leave and not take photos though. You can clearly see my priorities. :)

Growing up in Houston, TX, I never saw season changes. It was either hot or cold. Being in these cold places lately have reminded me of how seasons work--they are for a short period of time through the year and all have different aspects to them--whether it be hot or cold, snow or flowers, etc. It also reminded me of how this is also a reality in our lives. Whatever we're doing right now, most likely it's a season of our lives--whether that's raising young children, working on a career, retiring, getting married, etc.

I feel at times it's hard to be content with whatever season you're in. It's so much easier to think of what's ahead and not what you're going through and what you could learn from it.

Lately, the season we've been going through is "waiting". If I would have asked myself 6 months ago if I wanted this season of "waiting", I would have definitely said no, but God had different plans for us! I can truthfully say that it has been the best thing for us and I'm thankful to be where we're at.

I hope that what ever season you're in, that you can find contentment in it. There is a purpose for it and God will reveal it to you if you just ask! Would love to hear about what season you're currently in. Feel free to share it in the comments below.

-Ashley

Beautiful Blue Mountains

I am in love with this picture. I love the colors, the contrasts, the mountains...so pretty.

This was taken in Darjeeling in a famous bakery there. We just happened to be overlooking this area.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a place like this, but then I'm reminded of the cold and I quickly dismiss any idea I had! I hate the cold. Passionately. Good thing for where I live currently! :)

-Ashley

On the Way

On the way to Darjeeling we came across this beautiful spot that overlooked a city on the side of a mountain. We couldn't really stop for long, but I managed to take this photo before people started honking at us. :)

On another note, my photography class is over. :( sad day. Today we had photo presentations. I'll post the best photos on my blog soon. Although it's over, I received so much positive feedback about the course! I had several students at different times tell me how much they enjoyed what we learned and talked about. It gave me a lot of hope that I did well. And I can now officially say, that I've taught my first University level class! :) This is a milestone I should celebrate. What should I do?

-Ashley