December 31, 2013

a new year, a new journey

have you ever hiked before? you know, where it's up hill the entire time, no flat roads or disneyland trams nearby, no bathrooms or drinking fountains... it's steep and narrow, and most of the time you can't see where you're hiking to.

you know there's an end somewhere, but you can't see it. there are thick rows of trees as far as the eye can see with little rustling critters amongst the forest floor foliage [say that 5x times fast]. the tiny, rocky trail is shaded for the most part, making the sun and sky barely visible at times. but you know it's there.

after awhile, you wonder when you'll reach the destination. for a moment you feel as though it might be better to turn back, like maybe you made a mistake and don't have the strength to keep going down this path, up this hill. you think that the destination can't possibly be worth it all - the sweat, the aching muscles, the sharp pain in your side, the scratches on your legs from fallen branches...

and then you see it. a slight change in scenery and you know you must be getting close, you gain a renewed sense of strength and endurance. you can do it.
suddenly, you're out from under the canopy of trees, the sun is warm and bright on your face again, the quiet refreshing water sits still and sparkling. the feeling of relief and peace and accomplishment flood your soul, washing away all those thoughts of giving up and you can't even remember why you wanted to give up so badly.

and then something amazing happens... you realize that it's just as much about the journey as it is about the destination. the beautiful rest at the end wouldn't be nearly as beautiful if it were an easy ride to get there. the journey, the struggle and the endurance make the destination - a destination is created when we're journeying. if we weren't traveling or moving, there wouldn't be a destination. if we stood still and let comfort control us, we'd be going nowhere or even backwards. it's all about the journey.

and now that it's the final day of our journey through 2013, i've realized that this year was [as most are] quite the unexpected adventure. there were plenty of rough patches and steep, narrow mountain sides - times when i wanted to give up and turn back to the easy road. those times were felt deeply and struggled through, but then came joyous victories and mountain tops of relief - making all the blood, sweat, and tears worth it, making it evident that this journey is to be enjoyed because this is our calling: to journey, to move, to press on, to walk, to adventure... seeking and receiving from God, who equips us with endurance and patience, strength and peace, leading us when we can run, and carrying us when we can't go on.

i love that picture. we're not alone on this adventure, ever. it's something i pray sticks in my heart and yours as we move into 2014 - that this year may be marked by our enjoyment of the journey, being present in all steps, knowing without a doubt that not one step is taken without our Guide taking it first.....  what an adventure this will be!!

happy new year + new journey friends!!
ashley :)

some highlights of 2013 [top left to right]
celebrated spring by gathering for breakfast; visited Ca and got to spend father's day with my daddio; thorn + sparrow grew to heights i never dreamed of - yay!; husband and i found a frozen waterfall; i camped for the first time; my family took their first trip to montana - loved having them here!; my favorite desktop/wallpaper ever has continued to remind me to be present; archimedes dressed up as lincoln for halloween; started and ended the year with lots of snow; 'don't give up' was a recurring theme this year for me; husband and i celebrated 7 years of lovely marriage; we bought our first home... complete with a flower box out the kitchen window!


  1. i love this so much. i've been thinking very much the same thing about the journey of 2013! It's a beautiful image. And knowing that the hike of the year is not alone but with God…..the best!


    1. thank you so much lauren!! isn't it so freeing to know that He's with us? it stirs up courage when i think about that simple fact.
      happy new year, and all the best to you!! xo

  2. Happy New Year! I'm using the picture at the top of this post as my desktop/wallpaper until you post a new one for January.


    1. ha! that's awesome kirstin, i'm so glad you like the image!! a january wallpaper is in the works so it shouldn't be long!! :)
      happy new year, cheers! xo!

  3. I took that exact same photo! The hike up past Going to the Sun Road. It's heavenly up there. Hope your year is going well! Cheers to 2014!

    1. yes!! such a great hike and great photo op. :) i never want to leave once i've reached the top!
      cheers to you erika!! xo!!