Tag Archives: sunshinelaine

Simple & Holy

Simplify. What a beautiful, absolutely refreshing concept it is that this word implies. Rather than meaning mundane, plain, or boring, as some might think, to me this word fully encompasses what a renewed life should, and can, look like. In the New Year we simplify and set goals for the next 12 months, during spring cleaning we organize our homes, rooms, and closets and simplify them. When one is baptized into the Kingdom of God they choose to simplify their heart and make room for what is now most important. We do undertake this idea of simplifying periodically, but it is not enough. Piles upon piles of junk accumulate anyway, in our thoughts, words, bedrooms, minds, lives, etc. I don’t know about you, but I feel like my heart & soul could really use a breath of fresh air to cleanse myself from this clutter daily

To dig even deeper into this idea of simplicity, though, let’s build a connection between it and the word Holiness. I have been learning a lot about both of these terms recently, and how curiously similar they really are. To be simple can also mean to be holy. Any everyday occurrence, such as putting on your shoes or making the bed, can become a meaningful way to elevate ourselves to God. Just by purposely thinking about how thankful I am to have multiple pairs of shoes that I get to choose from each day, or praising God for blessing me with a comfortable bed and a house to sleep in every night during the process of these things, I can work towards achieving this state of elevation. It is all about having a positive, grateful mindset.

Think about the moment of baby Jesus’ birth. There was nothing absolutely extraordinary about it from first glance. I mean, yes, legions of angels appeared in the sky and sang praises to a baby whose birth was witnessed by farm animals, but still, for the most part it was a simple night, with simple people. But it was also the holiest of all holy nights. This occasion in history, as well as all the other stories that are written in the Bible for us to read at any time, sets a perfect example of marrying these two concepts, simplicity and holiness, and receiving a breathtaking life full of His blessing in return.

xoxo,

Ashton

My 1MISSION Campaign!!!

((Click here: https://my.1mission.org/AshtonJensensCampaign to Donate!!!))

Sweating so much your shirt turns a different color, the sound of constant hammering in your ears, a work load like no other, living the uncomfortable tent life for three nights, and a ridiculous amount of humidity. Imagine all this but you don’t care one bit. That sure does sound backwards… why would all this not bother you?? Because you & everyone around you is filled with so much stinkin’ love & hearts are overflowing with the joys of new friendships & Gods peace that passes all understanding. That is how I would describe the weekend of October 9th-12th for me. 400 high schoolers, including me, from Phoenix, AZ made the 4-hour drive down to Puerto Penasco, Mèxico. We had one mission(pun intended, hehe), to provide safe housing for thirteen families before the weekend was over. I am very happy to say that our mission was accomplished, all the homes were completed and the families are currently beginning a new life in them, but it was oh-so-much more than that. Hearts & lives were rejuvenated.

While in Mexico the 1MISSION staff gave all of us the opportunity to start a campaign to raise money and build even more sufficient housing around the world, but I didn’t really think anything of it at the time. It was like a, “Oh that’s cool, I hope lots of other people do it and change the world” & move on kind of thing. But ever since I’ve been home from that trip (over a month ago) I felt God tugging on my heart and bringing me back to the idea of starting a campaign. I kind of came to the realization that just taking 4 days away to do God’s work did not have to be the end, there is no limit to God’s strength, His power. I have gone to Puerto Penasco twice with 1MISSION and love what they do and the fact that it is much more than just donations and houses, they value connections and relationships, which sometimes makes more of a difference than four walls and a door. The beauty of 1MISSION is that they work with families, if someone wants a house they must earn it by serving in their community.

This venture of starting my campaign has been slightly delayed, I knew and have seen proof that this is the right direction to go, but I kept making excuses for myself saying things like, “It’s not the right timing”, “Not today, I have a lot to do”, and all other sorts of junk with no true reasons. God has given me the perspective that it is ridiculous to be selfish when He is the One who blessed me with a wonderful house, so why not do what I always say I want to do and be like Him by being apart of another family receiving their blessing of a home? So today I am choosing to obey God by launching my campaign! The donation page will be open until May 31st and my goal is $3000, which I know is a lot of money and honestly makes me a little nervous but I trust that the end results are in God’s hands. If you would like to help me reach my goal & be a part of providing a family with a brand spanking new home you can donate at https://my.1mission.org/AshtonJensensCampaign. Not to mention that prayer is extremely essential throughout this campaign & I’d be absolutely overjoyed if you would join me in praying for these families, what God is doing in their lives, and for His faithful provision. Thank you so so so very much to you all, I am stoked for what’s in store in the next few months!!!

xoxo, AshtonMy 1MISSION Campaign

Refresh+Awaken

       We see it all over pinterest in pages of fancy fonts & pretty florals, quotes telling us to ‘throw kindness around like confetti’, ‘choose kindness’ or, as the new Cinderella movie has made popular, ‘have courage and be kind’. These sayings have (unfortunately) become overused, and forgettable. The reason why I say this is unfortunate is because they should be the ones we really take to heart. I don’t think we realize how much influence our words, or lack of words, have. One rude comment to the cashier at Target could make their day that much harder. On the other hand, just ignoring that text from someone you didn’t really want to hang out with might hurt their feelings.

       I’d like to challenge you to use your words wisely and fill them with kindness. If kind is still too cliché for you try replacing it with ‘compassion’ or ‘goodness’. When you see a post with the word kindness don’t just scroll past, try to delve into it & learn something new. Try with all your heart & soul to refresh your thoughts on kindness and change it from commonplace to admirable/magnificent/sensational/phenomenal, any or all of the above.

Little things like leaving a sweet note for a friend or paying it forward, can be powerful, but big things are even more powerful. 

       “3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7

       As you can see from this verse, kindness is not a shallow, meaningless word; it is originated from God. HE created it & only HE completely understands it’s meaning. It’s up to us to do our best by following His calling when it comes to Kindness.

Awake your soul to the kindness it holds.

And off she went to change the world…

the argument eliminator between us siblings, someone I can always count on, the second mom of the family who is stricter than the first mom, the quirky child turned genuinely radiant soul. hm, who could this be?? my big sis, who just moved into college (two days ago, actually). not gonna lie, these next weeks are going to be different adjusting to the new normals. getting used to being the oldest child at home, having my role as a sibling & daughter change, not being able to just find Brianna in the house to ask her which picture I should post on instagram, etc etc. there may be some tears exchanged but they are 30% from sadness and 70% from being overwhelmingly proud of the beauteous woman she has become. Brianna- not only are you my sister, but you are one of the people who has helped shape my life, opinions & style, even if we don’t have the same style anymore 🙂 thank you’s galore to you for being so selfless & patient throughout the years. now go make plenty of college memories in your dorm sweet dorm!!!

xoxo,

your little sister Ash

The Power of Prayer

Prayer- it is the way we communicate with our Heavenly Father. It is extremely important in our everyday lives as Christians. I think we need to start praying big again. In the Bible people would pray for strength to overcome an entire city and have complete faith that when they prayed for a sign, God would tell them which direction to take through it. I feel like the prayers of this generation have become less confident than they could be. We have gotten rather good at giving God the reigns right before a math test or the big game, and don’t get me wrong, those are definitely things we should pray about, but we should also trust Him in the impossible situations. This is definitely something I have struggled with and am still working on, but I see how crucial it is to have such strong faith & that God ALWAYS answers. Here’s the thing though, He always gives us an answer, but that doesn’t mean He always says yes. Sometimes He tells us later, not now, maybe, or just straight up no. No matter what we pray or ask of Him, He will still do what is in His flawless plan. However, this does not mean there’s no reason to pray.

(James 1:5) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

In this verse we are told that we cannot just magically have wisdom, we must pray and ask for it. Think about it this way, we don’t receive salvation at a certain age or anything like that, it’s whenever we decide for ourselves and go to God requesting it. Same with wisdom, forgiveness, discernment, etc. Prayer is very necessary in order for those virtues to be evident in our lives. 

Maybe you’ve only ever been taught how to pray when you need something from God or are in a troubling circumstance. A good piece of scripture to follow while praying is the Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13…

This, then, is how you should pray: 9“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name (Praise the Lord for all He is & everything He has done in your life) 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Give Him your full trust and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through your life) 11 Give us today our daily bread. (This is where you would say any prayer requests: whether for healing, or direction, or wisdom, like we talked about earlier, or anything) 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Confession time, tell Him everything you have done wrong and ask Him to forgive you. Also, let go of any grudges against those who have hurt you.) 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Declare that you feel secure in knowing that our Heavenly Father has the power to completely overcome the devil.)

I am not at all saying this is the ‘only’ or ‘right’ way to pray, because any prayer is a good prayer and God hears them all. I have just found that this outline is excellent if you aren’t sure where to start or just need a little direction to stay focused 🙂 I use this almost everytime I pray & it works really well for me. My favorite part is that it starts out with praise, which is something God demands from us. I try to keep my praise to things simply about my Lord, leaving myself out of it. For example, I wouldn’t usually say “I praise you for loving me unconditionally” rather “I praise you because you are capable of unconditional love”. This way it truly is just about giving all the glory to the One who deserves it. Again, I know this is not required and I do not expect it from everyone, just my personal preference. 

I could honestly go on & on & on about the value of prayer and how genuinely powerful it is. You may even see another post on this in the future. I just really love talking to my Creator and hope you have or will experience how wonderful it is!!

-Ashton

the power of prayer-2

 

 

Smoothie- Simple&Sweet

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alrighty friends. today we are talking smoothies(one of my all-time favorite things). honestly, I’m not one to measure out every little ingredient or even follow a recipe- especially when it comes to smoothies. most of the time i just throw together whatever we have and hope it ends up tasting good! but hey, then you can know you are drinking a one-of-a-kind smoothie that will probably never be made again and feel super cool right? whatever the case, i kind of have a certain recipe that i always tend to lean towards & that is what i’ll be sharing with you today!

INGREDIENTS: (like i said, this is never exact but for the blog post’ sake here are some general measurements)

–2 cups frozen berry mix–2 cups frozen strawberries–1 cup coconut milk

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first choose your fruit, i used a frozen berry mix from costco as well as frozen strawberries. using frozen fruit is great because there is no need to add ice, which can water down your smoothie ((no bueno)). once you’ve poured in your fruit you need a liquid, otherwise, well it might be difficult to blend. i love using coconut milk because it adds a nice texture and more to the taste rather than just berries. i actually did not have coconut milk while making this smoothie but i did have coconut cream (basically the same thing just thicker) so i just mixed equal parts of that with water and tada! coconut milk.

then we turn on the blender and mix that baby up. once it’s to the texture you want, pour your creation into a cup, pop in a colorful straw & sip away!!

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i hope you try this recipe because it’s legit life-changing, sooo simple to make, super healthy and you can’t forget how incredibly tasty it is! if you do give it a go, send me a picture somehow or someway through one of the many social media apps we have now, haha. thanks for reading!

-Ashton

Armor of God Poetry

Happy June to you! For all my fellow Arizonans this also means we start saying things like, “wow only 100* today?” or “I don’t care how far away this parking spot is, it has shade.” ha! During this summer heat I always tend to spend more of my time inside rather than out (do you blame me?). Instead of spending these hiding-from-the-heat days scrolling pointlessly through my phone I’ve been trying to work on using this time to study my bible. Like not just read intentionally, but truly study God’s word in the hopes of growing closer to Him. One of the areas I have done this with recently is Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10-20. In this passage Paul encourages us to put on the full Armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. This is prime advice and, I don’t know about you but, I think I’m going to try my hardest to follow it. Obviously this armor is not just something that’s handed over, it is something to be earned by hard work. I decided to write a poem that basically repeats the apostle Paul’s words, just in a contrasting approach. And here it is!

As Christians in order to stand strong, we must use the Armor of God all our lifelong.

No matter what you have felt, wear truth on yourself in the form of a belt.

Use the breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart, for this is one piece with which you should never part.

The gospel of peace shall always be at your feet, if wearing these shoes you steadily repeat.

Extinguishing Devil-flung arrows will be no trouble, if you hold up the shield of faith your courage will double.

A pity it’d be to neglect your head, don the helmet of salvation instead.

The word of God can act as a sword, it comes from His spirit and is welcome to be explored.

Prayer is the element that holds it all together, without it there would be absolutely no treasure.  

-written by Ashton Jensen

Lots of thanks to you for reading a little tidbit of my thoughts today! Feel free to have a look around at my other posts (& the About page) if you haven’t yet. I’m feeling the love from all you who have read, liked, commented on and shared my posts, thank you SO much! Have a splendid day♥