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    • Ashley Veneman
      Participant
      @ashleyveneman

      Hi there!! I’m Ashley from just outside of Memphis, TN. My husband and I have two kiddos who are 9 and 7 … and aside from the children’s books I’ve read to them, I have little experience with poetry, but I’m excited to jump in!!


    • Ashley Veneman
      Participant
      @ashleyveneman

      Before I got married, I worked as a photographer for the International Mission Board. I was put on a trip to Central Asia where my job was to photograph a couple working with a community of people who lived in a really remote part of a closed country. I didn’t speak the same language as anyone in the village, but after doing my job and packing up to leave, I realized I was being asked to stay for dinner. Without me realizing it, they had been preparing it the entire day while I was working.

      We sat down around a table in a small hut and all tried to communicate with as best we could. It was like an incredible game of charades. The missionary couple came to get me that evening and stayed for the rest of dinner and we were able to speak more through their translation.

      When I left, the couple let me know that the people in that village felt like it was an honor to have their story told … and the stew we had that night was prepared from their only cow. I had no idea! It felt horrifying in some ways and I wished that I could go back and tell them not to do that for me! I’ve never been more humbled. I was a nobody, but they treated me like a somebody. I was told it wasn’t my choice, and they had given it gladly.

      I will never forget that meal. It was made out of sacrifice, and that made all the difference.


    • Ashley Veneman
      Participant
      @ashleyveneman

      I think this reminded me most of a saying I often hear, “You can’t draw from an empty well!”
      On the surface, what I hear Capon saying is that I shouldn’t have chicken nuggets every night because that’s what my kids want instead. (This is also a good point … however not to the depths I think he is getting to.) — In thinking through your question and the deeper implications of “cooking for myself” and “relishing reality,” I know that if I’m constantly pouring out without ever filling up, what I give has little value.

      If I am doing something because it’s what I think I need to do but never tap into the joy and fullness of the one who made me to reflect His completeness – I’m empty. I think of 1 Corinthians 13. I don’t want to be a clanging cymbal because I have no love. I don’t want to worship out of complacency, have hospitality because it’s what Southern girls do, take in the arts to distract from boredom, or evangelize only because it was what Jesus commanded. I want to live in the overflow.

      I think there’s no irony that Jesus talks about the great supper of the Lamb. We’re meant to enjoy and find joy in this life while we point others to the Joy giver.


    • Ashley Veneman
      Participant
      @ashleyveneman

      During a week/month where everything has felt “astronomical,” I decided to pull out Capon’s recipe for Hollandaise and give it a go. I’d love to report I had “a moment” at the stove where everything just felt right with the world, but that didn’t quite happen. What did develop though, was the sense of doing the next thing – choosing joy in the next thing. I was really trying to see something amazing happen while watching a sauce thicken, rather than bemoaning all the big things that aren’t happening in our world.

      I’m reading through the Bible chronologically this year with some friends, and that puts us in Job this week. This morning actually concluded the book where God sets all things into perspective and gives Job and his friends an earful of truth. He talks about all the things He has created, and how they are good, and amazing, and wonderful …

      I’d like to take more moments to go ahead and appreciate the small and tangible in front of me – without God having to remind me of the obvious miracles all around.


    • Ashley Veneman
      Participant
      @ashleyveneman

      I love the cookbooks by “Back in the Day Bakery!”

      Also, a classic – “The Joy of Cooking.” I remember seeing that one sitting on the counter in the kitchen growing up. I asked for a copy when I got married … just because it felt like home.

      Another excellent book is “Love, Welcome, Serve,” by Amy Hannon.

      What a great question for this forum! 🙂


    • Ashley Veneman
      Participant
      @ashleyveneman

      We are a part of His story… His pleasure. Not just an effect of a cause. I love knowing He is an active, intimate God … He is the “God who sees.”


    • Ashley Veneman
      Participant
      @ashleyveneman

      We make cranberry/orange shortbread cookies every year for Christmas … so good!!!


    • Ashley Veneman
      Participant
      @ashleyveneman

      Hi everyone!! I’m Ashley Veneman, and I live in Memphis, TN with my awesome husband, and our two busy and beautiful children. I’m super excited about this group! I’ve wanted to read this book for some time now, but always found it stayed on the bedside table instead of being opened to begin. On the topic of food, I have an affinity for Italian and homemade pizza. Love it!! While I love Italian cuisine, I will say my biggest “quirk” that my friends and family know well about me is my disdain for the spaghetti noodle. I just can’t. It’s like eating worms. Bow tie, penne, elbow … fair game! But spaghetti or angel hair … not a chance. 😉

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