Friday, August 20, 2010

New blog

Well my friends, the time has come to transfer over to my new blog at Revolutionary Life.

Though I really despise its format and have no clue what I am doing on wordpress, a blog has been set up through the website for my preparation/journey blogging. Dustan, RLI leader, has promised he will help me design the blog. I need serious help, haha.

Please bookmark The Calverts and don't forget to read and comment regularly! I love receiving comments, and will try my hardest to respond quickly!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Ok, so I know I promised a post about my struggles with moving from our home. It's a work in progress, and it's harder to write about than I thought. I don't know how to make things like that "short and sweet" and I often wonder if I lose people's attention span when I write more than a couple of paragraphs.

Moving on.

I've heard some people say concerning our trip "oh, I wish I could do that!" "It takes a special person to do that!" "I could never do that..." etc. People seem to think that this trip will be possible upon our own abilities and power. Not so. ANYONE can do this through God's power. It's not a matter of us being a certain type of couple, or me being a certain type of person. Yes, I am adventurous, but I also LOVE my American comfort. Yes, I can do without a comfy bed, but have only done so for a few days. Yes, I am an ethnic eater, but I also love me some Southern cooking.

The point is, as the Bible says, many are called, but few are chosen. In Matthew 22:14, Jesus explains in the parable of the wedding feast that while many were invited into the wedding feast, one person was turned away because they didn't have wedding clothes on. I take this to mean that we must always be PREPARED to listen to the calling of the Lord. If we hear but do not respond correctly, I do believe we miss out on what God has for us. Don't get me wrong; God is sovereign and everything works together for good, but I do believe that there have been some times in my life where I have missed God's calling because I was too worried about myself. I was too worried about comfort to listen to the Comforter.

A wonderful example of this is my relationship with my husband, Wesley. I had dated other guys before, and although they all ended in break-ups, I considered (some of) the relationships fairly successful. And then I met Wesley. I didn't realize that a relationship with the opposite sex could BE like this! He is literally MY BEST FRIEND. He is my favorite person to share anything with. We think so much alike, yet are so vastly different. I sold myself short because I thought "there's no way I can find a guy that loves kids as much as I do." (I was wrong, by the way). WOW! Of course our relationship isn't perfect...but I never thought it could be THIS good, you know? Never did I expect that. Like Eve and the fruit, I felt as if God was withholding something wonderful from me, so I would jump ahead before I could even consult with God concerning the relationship. Likewise, sometimes if we don't walk in the full will of God, we don't understand how our relationship with God COULD be! We have no grasp on the type of relationship God wants us to have with Him. I used to have the boldness to follow Christ's leading. I was almost wreckless with it when I first became saved at age 15. I was on fire and that was a GOOD thing. Too often our Christian culture teaches us to "calm down" and sink into the pews. But I lost that fire. I lost that sensitivity to the Spirit. This came from not entirely following in God's will. There were relationships I shouldn't have pursued. There were things I shouldn't have done. I felt the Spirit telling me this, yet I CHOSE TO IGNORE IT. I do believe I missed out on some blessings from this. I continue to struggle with this. Praise God He is a just God and chooses to love me and bless me through my disobedience!

Coming off my soapbox, I thought I'd educate readers on what fears I am currently experiencing:

1) I fear that people will forget me. I know the majority of us are "out of sight, out of mind" people. I admit that sometimes I can be this way, and I think our culture encourages this mindset. The thing is, if I'm countries away from you, I wonder if you'll really care. I wonder if you'll remember to pray for me, or if I will slowly fade away, blurring into a pool of thousands of other missionaries that are "out there." I don't want it to be an us vs. you thing, which is why I will continue to blog and post videos, involving people as much as possible in our journey. But I still fear that I will be forgotten.

2) I fear getting sick and not being in a comfortable, familiar place. We all do it. When we get sick, we demand to be taken care of in some way. My ritual is to want a fluffy blanket, a comfortable place on the couch, and a perfect "sick movie" on the t.v. (Mary Poppins is one of my personal favorites). Overseas, this is just not going to happen. There's a possibility we will be sick and still have to do things that day. I will have to learn to suck it up, and frankly, this scares me.

3) I fear being tortured or my husband being tortured. Wesley and I agree on this: we are NOT scared of dying. How could you be scared of going to be with your heavenly Father, the very presence we are so desperate for? But I am terrified of being tortured by someone for my beliefs. Worse, I fear watching my husband being tortured, and being put in a situation to either renounce Christ, or let him die. We have already agreed on our decision to never renounce Christ, no matter the cost, but it doesn't make the possibility any easier to even think about. (for you worriers, I do not believe in my spirit that this will happen at all! Just pray for safety!)

4) I fear being a minority in a foreign country. I experienced this in India, and it was difficult at first. Though I LOOKED like an Indian, I was very much an American. It's a surreal feeling. You feel at the mercy of the country. You feel vulnerable, exposed. It is definitely faith-growing, and changes people for the good, but the process can be unnerving.

5)I fear not knowing what to say when it comes time for me to minister. I often fumble over my words in large crowds, and end up rambling on and not making sense. I wish I could be more efficient in my public speaking.

6) I fear I won't be able to master the squatty potty. When I was younger, I tried to squat during a camping trip, and ended up peeing all over myself. Any time I would be put in that situation, I just couldn't do it. What if I am still 8 year old Ashley inside, who can't squat to save her soul? What then? This may be one of my biggest fears.

7) I fear I won't be able to do it. Quite simply, I wonder "have I bitten off more than I can chew? Do I REALLY understand what I'm getting myself into?" The answer is, probably not. But God will bless us for obeying His call. He is always with us, whether we are here or on the other side of the world. Whether we are prepared or not, He will EQUIP us for the task that He has called us to. Praise God.
A. An extension of this fear is I fear I will not be able to do it emotionally. While in India, it took all I had to not bring a child back with me. Oh, how I LOVE children. And we are going to be around lots of them. Lots of them that I will pour all my love into. And then I'll be expected to walk away without being attached. Not happening. It doesn't happen in America, and it certainly will be no different overseas.


Through all these fears, I am STILL going. Wesley and I decided that the only reasons for not going on this trip were 1) finances and 2) fear. We decided those two f'in f's weren't good enough excuses!
Whatever God calls you to, no matter how crazy it is, He will give you the grace to do it. I will close with what a friend told me is the definition of grace.

Grace: The divine influence on the heart to give strength to do something you cannot do on your own.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

T-49 days and counting...

-Buy plane tickets
-Buy plane tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai through Air Asia
-Find a family member willing to pay our storage rent every month
- Get shots (Typhoid, Hep A, Tetanis) Waiting on this until we get to Asia, and we're on the fence about whether to get them anyway.
-Buy backpacks

-Buy walking/hiking shoes I'm using my same shoes I've had; Wesley has picked out his and just needs to pick them up.
-Get passports I have mine, still waiting on Wesley's. Pray that we get it SOON.
-Get essentials: travel clothing, travel items ( clothesline, drain stopper, toilet paper, travel towels, earplugs, laptop, bug spray, sunscreen Will get in Asia)
-Get enough money pledged/donated to last the full six months in SE Asia (estimated to be a minimum of about $1,000/month if no major travel in that month... currently need $4,000 $3,??? $2,??? more for the minimum.
-Save enough money for a plane ticket back home, as the plane tickets we bought are one way. (estimated: $1,000-$2,000).
- Find a temporary home for our puggles.
- Get plane tickets from Gulfport to California


I love crossing things off my list.

I haven't been blogging here much because we are currently in the stages of transferring my blog to the Revolutionary Life website. But, if that doesn't happen within the next few days, expect a nostalgic, sad, and bittersweet post concerning how I feel about moving out of our first home as a married couple.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Travel clothing

I am a skeptic of travel clothing. A part of me fears it is just another bandwagon that consumers get on in an attempt to be trendy and spend more money.

However, being on the road for the next 6 months with only:

6 t-shirts
1 dress shirt
1 pair of jeans
1 light weight pant
1 cargo pant
1 long skirt
1 undershirt
1 rain jacket
1 hiking shoe and
1 sandal/flip flop with tread

...I can't afford to be cheap in my selection.
Hence my anxiety about shopping for travel clothing.

Thankfully, as you can read in my yard sale post, God provided us with the finances to do some needed shopping today at Gander Mountain. Since some people have requested for pictures, I figured I'd show you what we purchased today.

For Ashley:

Kicker bag by Kavu. I need a purse to carry my things in when we are walking around, and this is like a secure, miniature messenger bag. Mine is not quite as cute as this one, but just as efficient.

The North Face Womens Venture Jacket. First of all, I have never until now jumped on The North Face bandwagon. I have problems justifying the ridiculous cost. And yes, it is weird to be taking a jacket overseas where it can average over 100 degrees. However, for downpours you will inevitably be caught in, as well as for comfort on cold bus rides, this jacket was ideal. It comes with "pit zips", which I knew nothing of until my travel clothing endeavors began. It's basically zippers in the armpits that you open for ventilation. Heavenly. Wesley got the men's version in blue. We also figured this would be a good investment, as neither of us have an actual waterproof piece of clothing.

I had a really hard time finding any pants. This is the story of my life, and it is especially the story with travel pants, which are not the most flattering pants in the world. I am still in the process of finding a pair.

Shirts on the other hand, were fairly successful:

If comfort were a shirt, I am pretty positive it would be a Kuhl shirt. My goodness, these shirts are SO soft. Travel clothing is not known for its excessive trendiness or general cuteness, but I think Kuhl has made an honorable attempt.

This one is my absolute favorite. Brown is a good neutral color to have on the road. You don't want too many printed things or, because we are taping for Season 2 of Revolutionary Life, you will look like you're constantly wearing the same thing. The flower print on this is subtle enough that it won't make a difference. The shirts are a blend of polyester and cotton. When you think polyester, you think itchy, awkward disco pants suit, but combined with cotton... *sigh*. These will be super easy to hand wash and dry and will be durable enough to stand the test of wear and tear on the road.

My second Kuhl shirt

I also bought one more light-weight t-shirt with a cotton/modal blend.

Mentionables that I have gotten prior to today:

Pink bandana from Claire's. I could have gotten a neutral color, and may regret this...but I just love the idea of a pink bandana.

Kelty 2500 Redwing Backpack for women. It is designed for women, complete with curved straps. I love this bag. Let's hope it loves me, because it's going to be on my back for 6 months.

IPod touch. I found the 2nd generation on Craigslist for half what it's worth. While I am planning on boycotting Craigslist, I'm glad I didn't before I saw this steal. This really was a need. I dreaded trying to share our ipod back and forth on the trip during long bus rides. Now I can have my own IPod and also skype, blog, check email, download music, etc wherever wifi is...which may not be many places, but it will still be great! There are tons of free applications, including a Bible app with passage look up. Awesome. Of course, I will not use it as a means to ignore anyone.

For Wesley:

He got his own little slice of comfort with the Kuhl Elite Cafe Crew t-shirt. One of the coolest things about this shirt is it is blended with Coffeenna, "fabric made from recycled coffee grounds. The fabric naturally enhances the evaporative cooling to help keep you drive and comfortable with excellent UV protection"- from the tag, haha.

Under Armour zip off pants. Pants and shorts in one.

White Sierra Trail pant. Another zip off.

Wesley got his backpack at a yardsale a few months ago for $12. It is a Jansport backpack.
He has several shirts that fit the cotton blend required.
He bought some Merril laceless shoes, but they didn't fit him right so he is on the hunt for some more shoes.

Currently needed:

Ashley: 3 more t-shirts, 1 long skirt, 1 light weight pant, sandals, hiking shoes, hat, sunglasses, lightweight scarf

Wesley: 3 more t-shirts, hiking shoes, sandals, hat, sunglasses.

Both: Macbook.

As I left the store clutching the receipt, the tangible evidence of what we spent took my breath away. But I have to keep reminding myself that this will be the majority of our wardrobe for 6 months.


Our Yard Sale

Deuteronomy 15:10
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

Deuteronomy 28:12
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.


God truly blessed the work of our hands this weekend. We were really dreading having a yard sale, but knew there was a possibility of raising money toward our trip. So, we sucked it up, and got to work at the last minute. We started gathering things together on Tuesday, I put an ad in the paper on Wednesday to be advertised Friday and Saturday, and we made a mess of our tiny duplex. At times I felt like pulling my hair out. We had to move our HUGE wardrobe outside four times. I was weary.

But in those two days, we raised enough money to put toward our travel clothing as well as a laptop. We are currently waiting on purchasing the laptop, as we are believing for a Macbook, which is what Wesley really needs. When we have down time on the trip, he will need to contribute toward the editing of video footage, and will be unable to do so without a Macbook.

I practiced what the Bible talks about; speaking what you believe to be true. I started speaking that we would sell all of our big furniture for what we were asking. That would round out to be about $500. I knew we desperately needed that money, and didn't expect to gain very much money from the other little things in the yard sale. $500 was my goal. My expectation.

The first piece sold for $25 more than we had asked, because a dear friend of mine contributed extra toward our trip.

But then the buying was at a standstill. I got nervous. I was claiming this, why wasn't God blessing that?

(side note: We humans are so silly sometimes, you know? If things don't go exactly how we think they're going to go, we automatically assume God must be playing a cruel trick on us. If we could only understand God's infinite Love for us!)

A man came by that owns a furniture store, and was wanting to give us $150 for all of the rest of the furniture. This was ridiculously low, but tempting. It was our second day of the yard sale, and we were exhausted from moving things back and forth. Yet we both didn't have a peace about giving this man our furniture for that price, despite the fact that no one else had come by to buy it up. We had only sold the table and chairs that day, but no other furniture. Praise God we listened to His voice, or else we wouldn't have been blessed with what was to come.

We left the furniture out even after the yard sale was over because we didn't want to haul it back inside. And of course, that was in God's plan. One woman came by and immediately put a down payment to hold one of our pieces. Granted, it was $120 less than what we had originally asked, but we had a sale! Then, we had three inquiries within minutes after I prayed that the wardrobe would be sold. We just said goodbye to it a little while ago, and it sold for only $50 less than the asking price.

The amazing thing about this is that the support from the yard sale was almost double what I had for a goal in my mind. We sell God short so often. He desires to bless us, but we don't BELIEVE for it! I am so very guilty of this.

At one point, a lady came inside as I was packing something up for her. She started looking around at our stuff and asked Wesley if we were selling our t.v. He immediately stated that we were, and before we knew it, our t.v. was sold right out from under us, haha! Wesley joked that he is like his grandfather, who once sold his kitchen table right out of his house!


God has always blessed my hard work. But I truly cannot do anything apart from Him.

I am a HUGE believer in tithing. I began seriously tithing in high school, but not with the faithfulness Wesley and I have today. My motives to begin with were mostly because I felt it was something I had to do, and I also realized that when I did so, God would always bless my finances. Granted, I might not be filthy rich, but He always supplied my needs and then some. So, I gave to receive a blessing. But this experience has really helped me to realize and understand that it is all HIS. None of it is ours, no matter how much we work for it. And just like Abraham with Isaac, once we give things to God, He will bless our sacrifice and will often give that thing back to us in much better shape than when we gave it to God. I wonder how much that experience with Abraham and Isaac strengthened their relationship that day. I'm sure it made it a million times better, because the father and son left the experience with a greater respect and understanding for each other. Isaac respected and knew his father as someone who would give up his own son to follow God, and Abraham respected and knew Isaac in that he honored both God and his father so much that he would lay down his life.

God has never let me down. How often I let Him down. It's heartbreaking to think about it.

I LIVE for these experiences.

Friday, July 2, 2010


James 1:6
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Buy plane tickets
-Buy plane tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai through Air Asia
- Find a family member willing to pay our storage rent every month
-Get shots (Typhoid, make sure we have had Hep A,B,C shots, Tetanis)
- Buy backpacks
-Buy walking/hiking shoes
-Get passports (in process)
-Get essentials: travel clothing, travel items (clothesline, drain stopper, toilet paper, travel towels (1), earplugs, laptop, bug spray, sunscreen)
-Get enough money pledged/donated to last the full six months in SE Asia (estimated to be a minimum of about $1,000/month if no major travel in that month... currently need $4,000 $3,??? more for the minimum.
-Save enough money for a plane ticket back home, as the plane tickets we bought are one way. (estimated: $1,000-$2,000).
-Find a temporary home for our puggles.


Praise GOD that we have found someone willing to keep our puggles! I am, however, still being the apprehensive mommy. Please, pray that our "children" will be safe while we're gone :)

I have been in awe of God's provision. He continues to amaze me. I was feeling discouraged a couple weeks ago. My dear friend Becky encouraged me by telling me stories of how God provided for her mother in times of financial stress. I was encouraged by the stories and began believing for the money.

The very next day, someone handed us a check for $320! Yesterday, $150 came in! This morning at Wesley's work, there was a drawing and guess who won a $100 Visa gift card? Wesley, of course!

I am waiting for a recent updated report of the money we have received, but we are definitely under $4,000 needed for the trip! Yay!

Our second biggest need right now besides the money for the trip is a laptop. Mine died about a year ago and we never had the extra money to get another one. But guess what? I KNOW we're going to have enough money to purchase the laptop we need. Dusty with Revolutionary Life encouraged me to begin speaking the things that I believe. That's difficult for me, I'm not going to lie. It's not that I don't believe in my heart that God will provide (although my faith does waiver sometimes), but speaking it out loud is foreign and awkward for me. Dusty gave me some great verses that support speaking our needs into existance. Unfortunately, I didn't write them down =( But it is Biblical to verbally state your needs and state that you BELIEVE you will RECEIVE.

So, the next step in our fundraising is to have a yard sale this Saturday and Sunday! I am believing for a good turn out to raise funds as well as raise awareness for Revolutionary Life!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blogs with a purpose.

Since preparing to leave, I have tried to link up with as many organizations/people as possible and promote them.

This week, I'm specifically going to promote blogs that are connected to organizations.

-Katie Davis with Amazima Ministries in Uganda. This one started it all for me.

Katie's blog is amazing. I rarely make it through a post without crying. She is simply a girl who felt called to Africa, and listened to the call. She started an organization and has currently adopted 14 (and counting, it seems!) children to mother and care for...all before the age of 22. I mean, if that isn't a testament to God's grace and a picture of Jesus, I don't know what is.

-Renee Bach with Serving His Children in Uganda.
Serving His Children has a Feeding Program, Medical Program, and Malnutrition Rehabilitation Program. Again, Renee saw a need in Uganda, and decided to use the love of Christ to fulfill that need.

-Gwen Oatsvall and Suzanne Miller Mayernick with 147 Million Orphans. These two mothers, while going through their first adoptions, decided to start an organization to aid children in Uganda Haiti, and Ethiopia. In addition, they offer adopting families the opportunity to sell their products so that they may earn money for their own adoptions! 147 Million is the estimated amount of orphans currently living in the world. Their products are SUPER cute (the necklaces are gorgeous) and a great way to promote awareness of the orphan crisis as well as support families and children.

-Blogs for a Cause is a great blog in which the owner, Nikki, makes blog templates for people for a small fee which goes to help different international organizations. Not only are there links to hundreds of different "blogs with a cause", but she also helps support organizations with her talents. Brilliant!

-Orphaned No More A blog that sells bracelets to help a family bring their child, Isabella, home from China. The bracelets are super cute, and what better way to get accessories then to know that you're helping bring a child home so she will be orphaned no more!

-Women Doing More A wonderful blog by a woman that gives opportunities that others can participate in. I LOVE how each post has a "What you can do" section to show the reader how they can get involved!

If you're in a position to have a blog, I hope that you'll take the time to promote some very worthy causes. We have been given the gift of networking. Let's use it!