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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May Goals: An Exciting Month

Ah, April. It was a great yet draining month. I learned a lot about myself this month from deep things like situations with friends to simple things like writing. Let's go over the goals!

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CUT BACK ON SNACKS AND RUN: I did run a lot and did not get stung by a bee. I may or may not have prayed that I wouldn't before I went out every time, but hey, it worked. So far. Last night I got hooked on Dairy Queen chili dogs and forced my mom to buy me one after church last Wednesday, and as I write this, I'm working on a medium sized cookie dough cyclone. Go me.

WRITE NEW BLOG POSTS: I finished a bunch of posts that had been stuck in my drafts forever, so this one got accomplished!

REVIEW SHORT STORY SURVEY RESULTS: I literally got the same results every time: yes, post short stories, and keep them here on my blog, and both were the answers I wanted! I definitely want to write some short stories, but I can't make any guarantees as to when they will be up.

PRINT PHOTOS: Walmart came through for me and let me print my photos. I printed 6o of them out of the almost 2,000 photos on my phone. We're gonna get there.

COPY DOWN PRAYERS: I like the idea of a prayer log and occasionally writing down prayers, but I never want praying to feel like a chore - it should be a privilege, and it is. However, when I have to type or especially write out prayers, that's not as fun. It's not easy. I just want to talk to God without having to record my thoughts somewhere. I will keep the topics I made, though.

ATTEND ONE LAST HOCKEY GAME: I did, and I had so much fun. Did you hear the horrifying absolutely heartbreaking news?! The Wild lost to the Stars in the playoffs, and my favorite player Zach was out the entire time due to a back injury. :( The Hawks also lost, so that makes it a little better. ;) I don't want to the Stars to win!!! Plus, we got totally robbed on that one goal! Here is the pictures I took at the game - they were some of my best!

SHORT SHOPPING:

CLEAN UNWANTED SHELF: I got the top done. Oh my gosh, there was so much crap on there. I try not to refer to my stuff as crap unless I really mean it, but a lot of it really was crap that had just gathered. I can easily prevent that; I just have to do that.

CREATE A "MISSION" PAGE: I'm looking around my blog, and I realize all of my pages SUCK. They could be written a lot better, and oh my gosh, they could be designed so much better so that they're unique and perfect for my brand. Now that I think about it, I've always been redoing my pages ever since I started this blog. I need to make a plan and draw stuff out.

OFFICIAL SUMMARIES: I pretty much got these done! To start out with, I was having a hard time finding my rhythm. It was really easy to sum up my book in a sentence. For the life of me, summing up my book in only 3-5 sentences was harder than ever, so I moved on to the official summary, like the back cover copy. I thought that would be the hardest, and at first I couldn't get into it, but once I did it was really easy and helped me write the shorter one. The longer one was also easy, and I only had a few paragraphs left.

FINISH WRITING IDEAS: I did except for these ideas I had forgotten I wrote online. Whoops. I do need to go back and do those.

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May Goals

May is going to be a really busy as you'll see below, but I'm confident I can do it with God's strength! I also need to finish any goals I didn't this month.

Keep on running.

Especially from bees.

Pin to Pinterest and redo the homepage and footer. Also decide if a new template is necessary.

I made a new Pinterest account for some reasons I felt necessary, and I need to repin all of the images from my blog as well as some favorite posts of mine. That will be pretty easy, though. Then I want to totally redesign my homepage, add a landing page, and redo (and actually have) a footer. I also want to determine if I will need a new template for this.

Write collaboration posts.

Oh my goodness, I need to get my butt in gear with the collaborations I have planned. I reached out to a blog friend of mine awhile ago, and we wanted to collaborate, and it's been forever. I HAVE to write that post this month. Then I also want to check in with somebody else about a collaboration possibility; I met another blogger and want to write a post for her, and another blogger I just met wants to interview me on her blog or have me write something for her, so I have to be thinking about that. I also talked about guest posters on Facebook, and somebody is interested, so I have to email them. It will get done, and it's exciting!!

Shop 'til we die.

This is no longer a shop 'til we drop thing; I need shorts. And when I was at school the other day, my flip flops broke. And I could barely walk. And I had to ask Mom to bring me shoes. They lived a good life, but they were my only pair of neutral flip flops that I could wear with anything, so now I need a new pair of those.

Write down the prayer log TOPICS.

And I will pick certain days to pray about certain topics.

Clean the entire shelf.

The middle rows will be pretty easy, but the bottom row is jammed pack with stuff. And dust. I hope I don't die cleaning it.

Make a list of things I must have for Canada + prepare them.

People, we are already leaving soon. I have to get going on this.

Finish the summaries + do an author bio.

I need to finish writing my book summaries and write my author bio. I have a list of ONE agency to query to! Yay! We'll see what happens.

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More photos...

Because if we're going to Canada, I am going to be taking pictures every second. 60/2,000...

Over the month, God has encouraged me and answered my prayers in so many little yet significant ways to remind me He is there. I don't deserve His love, but I am so thankful. I had a lot of times I was discouraged at school and am still facing that, but I'm learning that in the big scheme of life, who cares? I go to school for an education. If I'm all alone, that's fine. One day something so much greater is going to come, and not giving in to the pressures of junior high will be worth it.

There's also been nights when I get mad at the DUMBEST things. I blame some of this on these lovely girl changes I've been dealing with, but I still have to take responsibility. I've also been writing in a journal because I have this dumb fear that I'm never going to remember my life, so I write about it haha. I wrote one night how I was mad about Instagram because I couldn't find a pretty aesthetic, and I felt like I didn't take good photos.

For my friends who don't know, Instagram aesthetics are a big deal in the blog world. It's like a theme for your photos on Instagram, so you want to edit them similar, and I was getting so mad because I couldn't find what I wanted. Oh, the things we get mad at.

What else? I shot my first turkey. I never knew how big of a deal that would be until I became Bass Pro Shops' Facebook cover photo, and a bunch of people congratulated me. It was totally awesome, though! Especially since I really thought I wasn't going to get one. I had a lot of fun doing it, and now I can say I shot one. Read the story here.

So that was my month in a nutshell. How about you? What are your May goals? I seriously can't believe how fast time is going.... Also, to wrap things up, the worst picture of me ever!

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