Archive for the ‘Exclusive Guest Post’ Category

A few months back I wrote a sneak peek sunday with the thought of what I wish I could have told myself 10 years ago.

Funny, I’m not the only person who has ever done this.

There happens to be a website all about letters to your 18 year old self. So, I submitted that blog with a few tweaks here and there to make their word count…and they accepted it.

Go over and check it out! http://www.dear18me.com/2011/11/16/life-is-not-what-you-thought-it-would-be/


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words with friends

Ash signed up for another guest post which I couldn’t be happier about! One of those reasons being I’m currently in Pure Michigan avoiding a computer screen at all costs and secondly because Ash is a journalism major and every time she contributes I learn more about what this whole writing thing is about! So enjoy, the inner workings of Ashley’s brain…



Ramblings of the Roommate

Once again the roommate is rambling….

Michaja and I have a unique friendship.  A friendship that allows me to ramble on her blog when I am learning something about myself or life in general. We have lived together for the last 3 years. In these three years we have experienced joy, laughter, sorrow, LOTS of tears (happy and sad), sharing faith and healing broken hearts. While we are always learning different life lessons in our friendship, the most recent roasted right now is communication. Well, at least I am learning this (she has professional training in it).

Over the last 6months I have noticed that other people are commenting on how we interact with each other.  Starting with a friend saying we communicate like a married couple (which is just frightening), to jokes about our ability to understand each other when we are talking nonsense. While our friendship lends itself to a lot of teasing and jokes, which we both love,  it got me thinking- “what is it about how we communicate that is catching peoples attention?”  and “How do I communicate with everyone else?”
I am embarrassed to say that for the first time in my life I am finally being intentional with how I am interacting and communicating with people in my life.  I am not just talking about taking the time to sit down over coffee and talk about feelings, I am talking about how I communicate my interest, and create community.  In paying attention to this in the last few months I realized I don’t always allow the space for people to communicate love or friendship in their way.
At a wedding this weekend, my wedding date insisted on serving me a cup of coffee- I found myself having to resist getting up and insisting I get it myself. I sat in my chair anxious at the thought of this person having to get a cup of coffee for me… This was such a ridiculous reality check- I couldn’t understand why this was hard for me… So I mentally rattled through what my issues could be… is it because I don’t want to burden this person? or maybe I have some Beyonce type independent woman syndrome?   I know it isn’t that I believe he is incapable of getting coffee…so why am I struggling with this? And if my typical reaction would be to insist on handling it myself…what is that communicating to my friend? I know you are probably thinking, ” Ash, it’s a cup of coffee…” but it opened my eyes to how I am treating others and how my reaction could be perceived.
Now for some cheesy Christian references to Dr. Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.  After my “coffee incident”, I decided I needed to learn more… so I did some research- and by research I mean I sat with my girl friends and took quizzes to find out what each of our Love Languages may be.  (for those who don’t know what I am talking about your love language is your primary way of expressing and interpreting love based on a book by Dr. Chapman…  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/).  Love languages aren’t just for romantic couples but is also how one communicates in friendship and community- it is each person’s natural way of showing he or she cares. In learning about my friends different languages I learned that I am often hindering people’s most desired way of communicating how they care.
Moving forward, I still have a lot to learn about how my behavior portrays my feelings, but also how I am receiving other’s love.  I guess the first step is realizing what I am saying without speech and then adapting what I deem a “natural reaction” to what I actually would like to communicate.  That is my homework… what is yours?
How do you express or receive love? Are you allowing those closest to you in your life to convey their messages of love? Do you need to sit down and let someone make you coffee?

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My wonderful roommate Ashley Ganski has signed up once again to be a guest blogger! I am very excited and honored that she chose such a deep and vulnerable topic to write on. It is truly a gift to have her as my friend…and to have her make my blog cooler. Spoiler alert…you made need a kleenex. Not a surprise here at the emotion filled blog of ‘You can Hope’, ash is just jumping on the cry-train!  

Hope- it’s beautiful.
After a conversation with some bloggers I know, I jumped on board to return for a second edition of the ‘ramblings of a roommate’.  Since signing up for the guest blog, I have been a roller coaster of emotions. I have had some wonderful highs and some dipsy-do’s (as my friend Linda P. may say).  The highs included celebrating by 27th birthday and the dipsy-dos included a challenging conversation with my not-so-thrilled family about my decision to get baptized. With the encouragement of my blog friends, I decided to share the ride on a guest blog about baptism.
Now a blog about baptism could be about so many things. I could write about faith, I could write about obedience, I could write about trust (because all of those things played into this decision), but I am choosing to write about hope.  I am choosing to write about hope because I did not realize the significant role hope had played in my journey to baptism until I was in the water.
Hope: (n) the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. (v) to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

Hope- it’s tricky. Since beginning my walk with God, I have tried to “tackle” some of the struggles we all have: faith in God’s sovereignty, trusting in God’s plan, being obedient…”the big players”, but I have never really allowed hope to play a part.  While I trust in God’s plan and have faith in His work, I never “get my hope’s up”.  I guess my thought process has always been “If I don’t get my hope’s up, I can’t be disappointed”.

After telling my family what baptism means to me, having tough conversations about what my faith looks likes, and  truthfully listening to how they felt about it, I cannot even begin to describe the joyful moment when I looked out from the water and saw my whole family standing on the beach. They may not have been on the exact same page of why I chose to do this, or have a deep understanding of what this means to me in my pursuit of faith, but they were there. They knew it meant a lot to me, they showed up smiling, brought me flowers, and just loved me. I don’t think I could have hoped for more.
In that moment, I had such a clear realization that hope has been intertwined in my whole story.

Looking back on my testimony and how I came to where I am now, there are glimpses and glimmers of hope throughout. My story is a symbol of hope for my best friend and her family. How could I not be on the hope boat?!

All of the baptism participants were asked to write a one page summary of their testimony.  I decided to share mine with you.
About two years ago I wrote an email to JR (a pastor at my church).  As I was thinking of how to put my testimony on paper, I realized I couldn’t paint a better picture of where I was and where I am now than by sharing this with you. Here is just a glimpse of where I was…
Tuesday, April 14, 2009-

I feel as though I am having a crisis of faith. I realize this that is an intense way to open an email, but it seems to be all that is on my mind. Recently my close friend and roommate suffered a tremendous tragedy and I have been walking with her though this. She is a member of Park. Her family is a very strong Christian family and seeing how faith and spirituality has affected them during this dark time has opened my eyes to something that is incredibly lacking in my life.
I grew up going to Catholic Church every Sunday, attended catholic grammar school, and have always had religion in my life, but until recently I haven’t really listened.  I am aware that statement would give my parents and schoolteachers that spent years trying to teach and inspire me in Christ a heart attack, but being honest, it never really soaked in. I have attended many services and walked away feeling inspired for a limited amount of time, but I have never had a fire for faith. The more I think about it, the more I realize I have had this hole, this emptiness for a long time, and I believe horrible situation has caused the fog to lift and allow me to begin to see what I have been looking for.
Flash Forward June 17th 2011. The family that suffered through such a loss is standing on the beach and watching a living symbol that their tragedy was not in vain. That because of their faith, God has made something beautiful out of the toil.  My life is changed. I am forever grateful.  I walked forward from that day seeking God and never looked back. Once I was so desperately aware of how much I was missing, there was no choice but to pursue God.  God has more than honored his promise to be continually teaching and molding me into a new creation.  I have faith that He will do great things through me. 

After looking back and realizing the key role hope has played in my story thus far, I can start looking forward for what the future holds.  I am getting my hopes up for what is in store for me.

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My wonderful Roommate Ashley Ganski is finally ‘guest posting’ on You Can Hope! I’m so pumped about all her wisdom.

If anyone else wants to get on the list to guest post please tell me! So far its a pretty exclusive list…I have two people who have agreed to maybe…and I’m holding them to that maybe!

The most commonly used words in our apartment are as follows: busy, Jesus, overbooked, love, overwhelmed, to do list, and friends… its 10 PM and on my “night off” I just sat down on the balcony to pen my guest blog.
 I use the term “night off” loosely because after arriving back at the apartment at 6:15pm- I took on the tasks of switching the closet from winter/spring to summer, cleaning my room, and grilling dinner for me and Michaja.  A night off in my eyes and many of the people around me is a night where you aren’t in/leading small group, volunteering your time, attending a work event, taking the newest fitness classes or fostering your community through social events.
It is not uncommon for my mom to open our conversations with something like “I think you need to slow down” or “Can’t you take one thing off your plate”. Those statements are quickly replied to with- “No I love doing that” or “This is what makes me happy, busy but happy”.
This weekend a group of friends and I took a trip to southern Illinois to visit my friend Allison’s family ranch. It wasn’t until I caught myself counting down the minutes to the possibility of turning the blackberry off, that I realized I don’t know how to slow down when I am within city limits.
I realized that even when I plan a day of relaxation, I end up watching a TV show while mentally making a list of all thing things I am going to do as soon as the show ends. In between Tina Fey’s witty dialogue on 30 Rock, my internal dialogue sounds a bit like this,
“You should be emptying the dishwasher, could you maybe do that when there is a commercial break, you have a DVR you could just pause it and get that done, but you only have tonight to relax, just sit…. oh wait I need to do laundry, do i have socks for tomorrow? Look at all that mail, I could watch and sort the mail. Ooo i am pretty sure the fridge need to be cleaned out, I think i have old spinach in there… oh Tina Fey, you are just so funny self-deprecating humor is the best… shoot I need to grocery shop, no laundry trumps groceries, I am running out of jeans…WAIT this is your relaxing time, you have 2 hours this week to just sit, you should enjoy this, stop making lists… Oh the show is over”

 I am emptying the dishwasher…

It took stepping out of the city and away from my to do lists to slow down and STEP AWAY FROM THE IPHONE. It took getting thrown off a horse  (actual: falling off a horse on my own) causing slight pain to stop go go going and sit down on a Tuesday night and write a blog. I am not going to get into a rant about how to manage time or what we should be filling our time with, but I am going to challenge you to slow down at some point this week.  (insert clichéd Ferris Buller’s Day off quote here).
Here is a song to get you in the right mind frame (please ignore some of the lyrics)…

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