guest post // {Diary Of A Reporter}

I hope everyone's Tuesday is off to a great start! I am probably taking an exam as we speak & scrambling around to get some last minute work finished {im the worst procrastinator}. But I want to thank everyone for their wonderful advice on my hair choice :] I did step over to the dark side -- so am brunette with a little more spunk {pictures to come}. I was planning on posting my weekend recap yesterday, but I left my laptop charger at my boyfriends house & won't have it until LATE Wednesday night -- so all you pretties will have to wait! :] In the mean time I have a wonderful guest post from Ashley @ Diary Of A Reporter. Ashley is such a sweet heart & I am so glad that I have gotten the opportunity to get to know her. Her posts on her blog are so real & true. They make my heart smile! I hope you enjoy your time here today & get the chance to stop by her blog. xxoo.

The first time I ever saw God work in my life I was 12 years old.

Without going into too much detail, my family suffered a tragic loss that left my mother single with five children. As a former stay-at-home mom, she was suddenly left with an enormous financial and emotional burden.
She worked hard during those years- she was usually balancing a small business (she has always been an artisan and made hand-crafted soaps and candles at the time) and a full time job. Financially, things had to be strained. I honestly cannot imagine the amount of stress that went with everything she had on her plate. Sometimes she cried, but she never broke.

The summer before I turned 13, she managed to come up with enough money to send me on a church retreat with my youth group. Since I can remember, her biggest goal as a parent has been to show her children who He was and how much He loved us.

Because of her, I knew who He was. But on that trip, somewhere between the chilly mountain mornings and evening bonfires- I felt Him. It was a churning in my soul that felt warm and bursting and made me feel...alive. connected. I had always known He was real. Now I knew what it felt like to have a relationship with Him.

When I returned from my trip, I began to see things in a new light. Where before I felt sorry for our situation and sad about the things that transpired- I suddenly saw Him working in a thousand little ways in our lives. No matter how little money there was to go around, there was always food on the table. The bills stayed paid and the electricity stayed on. We had nice clean clothes and and car to drive and so much love in our house.

When Christmas came, a Christmas feast arrived on our front porch. We still don't know where it came from. When we woke up the next morning to open presents we squealed in delight because there was such an abundance. There were also five envelopes with each of our names written on the front full of -get this- money.

God often works through his children and the kindness that was shown to us in those days is not something I will ever forget. That kindness showed us that all was not lost. That there was hope. That while life is sometimes painful it is also remarkably beautiful.

**all photos (except the portrait) taken in 2009 during a visit to the retreat location.

Thank you, Ashlyn. :)