Sometimes I marvel at the opportunities life just tends to sling my way. I am blessed with terrific family and friends. The most beautiful nieces and nephew and let’s just be real, I have one of the best jobs—sure I complain from time to time (who doesn’t), but I have a rewarding profession that isn’t just about what I do, but who I am.
And I get to travel!
I love to travel. Seeing new things, experiencing new things, and (oddly) talking to strangers is one of life’s surprising joys. I’m not really the kind of person who jumps for joy, but if I were the next two weeks would send me to Mars. Or maybe Jupiter.
My aunt invited me on a cruise that will take us all over Northern Europe and even to Russia! And let me just tell you I’m about as excited (and nervous) as a six year old set loose in a candy store with a hundred dollars in her pocket.
And so, I’m off. As per usual expect some updates (I’m a writer, I just can’t help myself), and hopefully some good stories (I’m eavesdropping right now…this is why I love airports) and some GREAT inspiration for my upcoming projects.
This summer I have an EXCITING OPPORTUNITY to be a part of GRACE LIFE CHURCH‘s Short Term Team to the SLOVAK REPUBLIC
This past year has been a growing experience for me in a lot of ways. I have started a new job, moved into a new house, made new friends, but even more importantly I have found a church home where I have had the opportunity to grow in my relationship with Christ. One of the most important lessons I have learned this year is that faith is more than just a personal relationship, and more than just something to believe. It is a CONSTANT surrender to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to act for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
The needs are great in Slovakia. Although communism is no longer the political stronghold, the country is still in great need to build up churches. This is especially important among the youth. As you all know, I have a heart and a gifting for working with and teaching youth, and firmly believe that this is the way to improve the world we live in today and reach even more people in the future. Youth, after all, are not just the future. They are they present and building that foundation now is important.
Our team has the opportunity to work with the local ministry of Josiah Venture to help build youth ministries and develop youth leaders to reach their country. This summer I will be working with students from Slovakia as they are invited to an English camp run by Josiah Venture where within a camp environments students are taught conversational English and exposed to Biblical truths for the first time.
After camp, students return to their hometown and are invited to youth group events at the local churches where relationships are built and maintained. As a writer, teacher, and lover of languages and youth I can feel God is going to do something amazing this summer and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
Please pray for our adventure and time this summer as we prepare for this calling. If you are interested in becoming a part of my support team, you can print out the response card below OR you can go to the following link and donate financially online. https://gracelifechurch.ccbchurch.com/w_give_online.php
(Choose Ashley Carmichael in the drop down designation)
One of the best parts about my job: the unique opportunities to do something new and exciting each summer. And God bless the summer for it too, because the good Lord knows I need new stimulation or I might just go crazy doing the same thing year after year. A common misconception held by many people is that teachers get paid vacation during the summer. That is untrue. I am a 10 month employee and as such, I spend two months of my year unemployed. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds either. I spend a lot of energy each year trying to make sure that my summer is not wasted, and as a result I do end up better off for that energy well spent.
A couple of days ago, my time and preparation finally paid off. I moved out of the alternate position for an NEH summer institute and became a recipient. In the course of two days, I was congratulated and presented with a number of documents to sign to accept the award. I did so immediately, because it meant I would spend 4 weeks in Santa Cruz, California studying Charles Dickens and adaptations of his works with 15 other educators from across the country at USC. I booked a flight and started to dream.
And with those dreams came infinite possibilities. That’s what I love about traveling. While it is unpredictable in a lot of stressful ways, it’s unpredictable in a lot of beautiful ways too. And ultimately this new experience will give me, you guessed it, something else to write about.
I have never been to California, but when I participated in an NEH summer program a few years ago in Colorado I fell in love with the West, so pushing further into the western part of the US is not at all distasteful. In fact, it makes my heart race with anticipation. Not only will I see things I have never seen, I will learn so many new and wonderful things and meet fascinating people who, hopefully, will be friends for life (Marjie and Jan—we still need a reunion tour; Alisha and Noelle—let’s do it, okay?).
The last two summers I spent working at a pool. I managed it, worked with teenagers and learned things about myself I didn’t know; this summer I’ll expect just as much, but in a uniquely different way. And that unique opportunity to discover more about myself and others is what is so great about being unemployed for two months
And I will write about it all.
Encouraging restoration, healing, and expression through writing.