Sparkles by Ashlee: faith, funny, + fulfilling dreams

Welcome to Sparkles by Ashlee, a Christian lifestyle blog over faith, funny, and fulfilling dreams. I'm Ashlee Staerk, and I'm a teenager in love with Jesus and writing stories for His glory in Iowa. Grab your fave drink (I'll take a Dr. Pepper), and peruse my blog, where I document what God is teaching me, encouragement He lays on my heart, the good and the bad in life (always keeping it real), and my journey of trusting God with my dreams!

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14

Wow, long time and no writing on here unfortunately. I miss writing on this blog, and more than that I miss all of you!! Well today, seeing as it's been over a month since my last blog post, I thought I'd just make sure you all knew I was alive and all that good stuff.

Why haven't I been blogging? Well there was a week towards the end of January where I did almost die thanks to the lovely sickness that never fails to catch me during winter. And being an eighth grader, that means when you miss a week of school, you get a year of homework. So that's what I've been trying to catch up on.

How has your 2017 been so far? Mine has been going really well so far. There's already been challenges, and there have already been days where discouragement creeps in, but I am so thankful for God's unfailing love. No matter how I feel, He never changes. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

I've read a lot of great books, done a ton of schoolwork (it's almost the end of the trimester and things are crazy), bought a lot of things (some great investments and some not-so-great), wrote a lot (on everything except this blog haha), taught my dog some amazing things, made some dumb choices, seen God provide in some awesome ways, looked at a lot of exciting things when it comes to the future, had lots of doctor's appointments (I'm not dead yet), learned a lot already, watched some awesome movies, had some great conversations, learned to forgive myself, turned 14, ate a lot of great (and unhealthy) food #helpme, shopped, went to a hockey game (yay!!), walked my dog a few times, and so yeah, it's been a great year so far.

I've been reading through Karen Kingsbury's Baxter family series, and I definitely recommend it. It's hard to believe I read that series for the first time back when I was in fifth grade. It taught me a lot then, and I understand it even better now. Her books truly inspire me, as a Christian, as a writer, as a person.

In February I turned 14 (yikes), so I got to go shopping and spend money which is always great! Unfortunately I spent $60 on an Instax camera earlier in the year, and honestly I don't think it was worth it. The first time I heard about them I was interested in buying one, but the more I looked at them I decided to hold off. There was a reason for that. But then one night on a whim I was like, I'm going to buy this! Ugh. Think through the decisions you make. While the camera is definitely super cute and fun to use, I just don't think for me personally it was worth it. Film is EXPENSIVE, and you'll always have to buy that. My phone takes better quality pictures, is so much more efficient to use, that and I can upload photos. So yeah. If anyone wants it and the remaining film I have just let me know. . . .

I actually have wrote a lot in terms of my writing books. I was looking back at my first novel I finished in 2014 at my revisions, and I just really hope I can publish that book this year. It was so cool to see what God taught me just through writing that book. Now I just pray He'll use it in your lives too!

As for teaching my dog amazing things . . . I taught him how to jump up on our kitchen island, and Dad taught him to join us for supper. ;D Mom was super happy about his academic progress.

I've been talking with my cousin about bucket lists. I have mine listed here on my blog! I want to focus on breaking down some goals and working on them this year. I'm so excited for all this year will bring. I've found so many new Bible verses as I've gotten into my Bible more, and it's hard to determine what is my favorite nowadays. Either way, Proverbs 3:5-6 is dear to my heart, and if you just follow what it says. . . . No matter what the rest of the year may bring, with God, you can and will get through it all. He has a good plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). He's faithful even when you fail. He loves you.

I pray that each of you has a great 2017! And here's to me writing on this blog more hopefully haha :)

Lots of sparkles,

P.S. I'm 14 now and legal. So watch out. I failed my first driving test though so don't worry you'll have a few more days of safety ;)