life lessons

Life Lately: Winter Edition

Life Lately: Winter Edition

There’s something about winter that causes us to slow down, to reflect. I suppose you could say the same thing about any season: it’s really a matter of being intentional with your time and attention and being present.

I’m making it a practice to sit and write out some of my thoughts during each season this year - a practice I hope will help me cultivate a sense of peace and gratitude, recognize and acknowledge things I’m learning, and be more present.

We’re all works in progress, right? This is me, sharing where I am and what I’m learning along the way.

So, let’s pretend it’s the weather and say this reflection was inspired by quiet snow days and clean, winter-white landscapes, okay? This is life lately:

Six Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started in Ministry

Six Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started in Ministry

Hindsight is 20/20, right?

If we knew then what we know now, we probably would have done things differently, handled that situation another way, said “yes” instead of “no” (or vice versa).

But the thing about life is we can only live going forward. We can’t go back and edit our choices later on, though hopefully, we take the time to reflect and learn from our experiences as we go along.

I’ve been doing that lately with ministry. What have I learned over the years? How have I grown and changed? What would I tell my younger self? We all have different answers to those questions, but they’re important to think about and perhaps even voice from time to time. This is how we learn. This is how we grow.

In the spirit of all that, here are six things I wish I’d known when I first started in music ministry:

Lessons from the Slopes

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Ashley Danyew | Ski Day I checked off one of my March goals last week - we went skiing! And can I just say, it felt so good to spend the day outside after a long, very cold winter. Mind you, it was still in the 40s, but with the sun shining, we got a glimpse of the warmer days ahead. I felt more refreshed just breathing in that cool mountain air.

Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

Every time I ski, I discover a few more "life lessons". I hope these are as enlightening to you as they were for me:

1. The conditions are always changing. In this spring weather, you may find groomed snow, slick icy patches, and soft snow that grab your skis - all on the same trail. The conditions are always changing, so be prepared, responsive, and flexible.

2. You can't follow in someone else's tracks; you have to make your own. The trails show traces of those who have traveled this way before but it's impossible to make it down the mountain using the same set of tracks. Make your own decisions, use your own creativity, and make your own way.

Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

3. It's okay to fall. It's how you get back up that matters.

4. Face your fears; take the leap. You may not be able to see the end of the path, but that shouldn't keep you from exploring it. Face your fears; take a risk; try.

Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

5. Sometimes it's good to be still. SD and I had some great conversations on this chair lift - the real, honest kind of conversations that I'd been missing in the midst of a few chaotic months. My heart needed this time to be free, to be brought to a place of humility and honesty, and to find peace.

Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

5. It's better with people. It's true in skiing and it's true in life. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and challenge you to be better.

6. Enjoy the ride. Sure, there's risk involved and it might be a lot of work sometimes; but enjoy the ride. The joy is in the journey.

Read more: Snow Day