Kindness and Chaos

The Fabulous Fuhry of an Ordinary Girl


Wherever You Would Call Me


I remember exactly where I was. My phone rang and I picked up, knowing it was my mom. I heard the words, and the world became fuzzy. I broke down, just lost it, right there in the middle of the clearance section of Half Price Books. Of course I would be here, I thought. I hung up, and I just stood there. Russell asked me what was wrong, but I couldn’t speak. I was using every ounce of energy not to wail in the middle of a book store. I’m not sure I’ve ever told him how grateful I was that he was there. Recognition dawned on his face. He wrapped his arms around me and walked me out the door. He opened the passenger door to the truck and helped me in. He raced to the driver’s seat and held my hand. He waited for me to be ready to talk.

“She’s gone. Aunt Peggy is gone.”

And he let me cry in silence as we drove home. If it weren’t for Russell I might still be crying in the clearance section of Half Price Books. Seriously.

Nothing can prepare you for loss. I’d said good-bye to her a week before. I knew I was probably hugging her for the last time, but I was still heart broken. I was shattered. I was angry.

And so we entered a new year in sadness…

2013 was a year of change

Less than month after losing Peggy, I found out that I was pregnant with Lucas. I’ll never forget the look on Russell’s face when I told him. I was overjoyed, but I was also saddened that this sweet baby would never know Peggy. When I found out Peggy was gone, Lucas wasn’t a part of me yet, but God knew that he would be. If you know anything about pregnancy duration, you’re pregnancy “starts” before conception. Mine started on December 29th, 2012. One day before Peggy went to be with Jesus. What a beautiful testament to life. One enters the world as another leaves. I don’t believe in coincidence, and maybe, just maybe, Lucas knew Peggy before he ever knew me.

With the upcoming arrival of baby, we made more changes. We bought our first home. We traded in a truck for an SUV. I began settling into my new job at CBMC and planned my first corporate event with over 1300 people in attendance. We surrounded ourselves with newness. Lucas joined our family, and I wasn’t sure what we ever did before he came. After much heartache and chaotic change, I was again finding my joy.

2014 was a year of foundation

Russell and I lived with intention this year. We set goals that would help us in both the short and long term. We started journaling. We took vacations to both rest and restore. We removed a majority of our debt and built up our savings. We gave more of our time, talents, and treasure. I finally received non-profit status for The Art of Encouragement. I read an obscene amount of books. I began mentoring a high school student. I walked 60 miles with every step toward stomping out breast cancer. We set intentional goals and we met them. We set ourselves up with a firm foundation.

2015 will be a year of unknowns

If you know me, you know I really hate the unknowns. I like to plan. I like to have my ducks in a row, or maybe two equally coordinated rows…. you see where I’m going with this. Russell and I sat down to rejoice over our achieved 2014 goals and set new ones for 2015. Then we went to church on Sunday and Marty Grubbs just slapped us in the face. (Not literally. I don’t want to be starting rumors about the pastor HA!) Don’t get me wrong, goals are wonderful. I already have 12 for 2015. Planning is a great idea, but not everything can be planned for. If we could do it all on our own, we wouldn’t need God and we wouldn’t need faith.

Marty shared with us some of his goals for 2015 and they showed me a lot. Maybe I’m not stretching myself with my current list of goals. Maybe I’m relying too much on what I can do instead of what I could do with God’s help.

Already, Russell has received a paycut equal to my entire salary with the drop of oil prices. The year of unknowns is off to a great start already! 🙂 We are prayerful that Schlumberger would open a new position locally that they are testing in other markets. Russell would be a prime candidate for the position and it would give him mostly regular hours. Which means he’d be home. With us. Every night. Every weekend. Consistently. GLORIOUS. We’d be giving up a lot more income if this happens, but time together is far more important. We will adapt our life to fit as needed. We know that 2015 will be full of unknowns. At least we are prepared for that much.

I’m not sure if anyone else can relate to this, but does your throat ever just close up during worship because you desperately want to sing the words, but you aren’t sure you can actually live up to them or commit to them? That’s how Oceans by Hillsong United makes me feel.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk along the waters. Wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. Where my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”

WHEREVER you would call me. Do you realize that could be anywhere? to do anything?

DEEPER than my feet could EVER wander. Bigger ideas, bigger dreams, bigger sacrifices, bigger heartaches than I could ever fathom.

All to strengthen my faith.

That’s hard y’all. I hope I’m not the only one admitting that today.
Type A, only child likes to think she’s in control.
God on the other hand IS in control.

And so, while I will keep my 12 goals for 2015 (because they are really great goals), I will anticipate the unknown in 2015. I will be open to go DEEPER and go WHEREVER God may call me this year.

Stop a minute. As much as it gives me the heebee jeebees to even write that, I know it is right. Will you join me in being willing to step out in faith and go DEEPER. To go WHEREVER God is calling you? Will you find moments of solitude to listen for that calling?

Looking back, the last 5 years of my life have changed me SO much. I’m not sure anyone who hasn’t encountered me since 2009 would even recognize me. I am different and in the best of ways. A lot of that change has come from good things, but some of it has come from bad things.

Two years after the passing of my aunt Peggy, I still struggle with sadness. I still cry. My heart still aches. The amount with which I miss her is indescribable and infinite. While her death is one of the  “bads” in my life, her life was worth so many more “goods”.

I know that God makes everything work together for good, and because of that, I know that whatever 2015 throws my way, good or bad, will all work together for good. Isn’t that a reassuring hope for tomorrow?

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Romans 8:28 


Until I See You Again,

P.S. You’ll want to get tissues if you watch this video.

Here’s a link to Oceans (the song I wrote about, above), as well:

Ashley • December 30, 2014

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  1. valerie Ornatowski December 31, 2014 - 2:44 am Reply

    Oh Ashley… I had the tissue out long before the video. I met Aunt Peggy when I flew out for you wedding, the first moment I met her I knew she was special. I’m not good with new, but she took any anxiousness I had instantly. Her and Vernon, wow! Peggy and I emailed a lot after the wedding. What a joy and an Honor for me. When my nephew Jeremy died at 31 a part of me died. But Praise God we will “see them again.’

    Your blog is helping me more than I can say.

    Much Love Aunt Val

  2. Amanda Mercer December 31, 2014 - 2:15 pm Reply

    You are a beautiful writer. My heart aches for the loss of your Aunt Peggy. I love seeing your faith in Christ.

  3. Exiting the Year of Unknowns | Kindness and Chaos

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