Monday, February 28, 2011

I Love Money

Money is one of those things that I can never really tell how I feel about it. I want to share my dilemma with money and my current conclusion about it and then hear your thoughts on it.

I love capitalism, America, and money. Sometimes when I tell people that I sound like this big jerk who is incredibly selfish and wants to hoard things. Allow me to better explain myself.

  1. My love for capitalism is in part because I love America so much=) But it's also from my view on meritocracy and I really believe that meritocracy is the driving force of capitalism. The more abilities you have, the more you'll succeed. Essentially, work hard, use your gifts, use your talents, and you can get places. Capitalism doesn't allow for slackers. Nothing may always be an option, but it's not a good option in the capitalistic system. That's what I love about capitalism. I love that it forces people to use their abilities and do something with them. [Now, I know that capitalism doesn't exactly work like this and some people do work hard and aren't really rewarded for it. I know the statistics, I know that the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. I'm a dang Sociology major, that's what we focus on. So don't hate on me too much, I just want to explain how I see capitalism.]
  2. I love America. End of story. Okay, not really end of story. Read part of the story here. I believe in America and the American Dream. I believe in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I think it's so cool that we have such a diverse country. That we have people from so many nationalities, so many backgrounds. People keep hatin', especially on Arizona currently on this subject. I won't get too much into it, but I really do think that people outside of America look up to America. I do. I really do think that America is influential. And yes, America has a lot to learn. I see that America messes up. But you know what? So does every other country. And so does every human. 
  3. The money part I will explain later, because that's going to be my main focus of this...
So money. Here's my dilemma: Money is a pain in the butt. I thought I hated money. I always need money for something. I needed money to get to South Africa. I need money for India. I need money for higher education. I need money for food, for shelter, for clothes. But! If I love capitalism, how can I hate money? And aren't there cool things I can do with money? I hate it, but I need it. What to do..

Here is what I have decided about money. 

I have decided that I don't hate it, I like it. I have decided that I don't totally hate that I have to raise money for India. I don't hate that I always need money. I don't think money is a bad thing. Check it out (for the most part, focusing on raising support for India, as that is what I am currently "needing" money for):

  1. Asking for money allows me to be humble. I can't get to India by myself. I can't make $5,000 in a few months. It requires me to say that I need help, that I can't do this alone. A person with pride in the way won't ask for money because they can't. Asking for money, raising support, has made me deal with my pride. It hasn't been the most fun...dealing with sin kind of sucks actually. I struggle with pride probably more so than what most people realize and it has put me in rough spots. But I had to deal with it. I have to deal with it. Not "deal with it" in the sense of I'll just live with it, but "deal with it" like I am going to confront it and tackle it. Like I am going to win this fight. Like I have Jesus on my side who has constantly been teaching me to be humble in every way not just certain areas. I don't hate that I have to ask people for money because it's such a humbling experience. 
  2. Giving money allows the body to be part of something. Not everyone can/wants to go somewhere far to serve. Yes, you can serve here. But when people give money, that shows that they support something. When people give money, they are making a significant contribution to something, to someone. There is a stewardship responsibility that God asks of us. Giving money allows people to take part in that responsibility and to be involved in a greater purpose. It's a way for people to get involved in something that God is doing in the world. 

Here's something else...I love having money. I love having money because it enables me to tangibly serve people. When I have money, I want to spend it on people. I love taking people out to eat and paying for them. At school, I have what are called transfers and every time I am behind/in front of someone who is about to pay for their meal with cash/card, I pay for them. And I do it when they are searching for their money so they don't even see or know until the cashier tells them that they are covered. And if I'm behind them I just look and shrug and if I'm in front of them, I just walk away. One time after I did that the guy came running after me and stopped me and just said, "Thank you" in the most sincere way. At NAU, this semester alone, I have been able to pay for at least 7 random people. It's been awesome. 

For my friend's birthday, I was trying to figure out what to do. I decided to give her money because I think one of the coolest things a friend can do is empower their friend. I knew that she wanted to help people, she wanted to give, but she didn't have the resources. So I provided her with the resources. I didn't give her a lot, because I didn't have a lot. I told her to give $5 to a panhandler. I told her to go downtown, give a panhandler the money and a note and tell them they are cared for. With $20 I told her to take a friend out to dinner, pay for their meal and have an intentional conversation with them. Be real with them. Learn about them. Give them your time. With $40 I told her to find an organization, one that they believe in. One that they find value in. One that that the purpose and mission is one that my friend's purpose and values line up with. Money can empower people.

Those are some cool things I have been learning about money. Stories of me giving money, of me asking for money, of me seeing what money can do. Money doesn't suck. It empowers people, it humbles people, it allows people to be involved. 

I love money. Not because I love things or want to hoard it, but because I love what I can do with it. I love that I can serve people with it. I love that it makes me deal with some of my crap. I love that it can draw me closer to Christ, trust in Him more. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dance, Dance, Dance

Disclaimer: I encourage you to click on every link in this post, that way you know what songs I am actually talking about, and watch the videos. Although I'm not sure how to make it open in a new window, so unfortunately if you just click on it it takes you away from this screen. Maybe if you right click...

I've been in like super dance mode lately...which is unfortunate because I am an AWFUL dancer. As I told my dear friend one time, my hips can't lie because they don't move! I just swing my arms around and stomp my feet...that's essentially my dancing.

Last week we (our super cool MoCa hall staff) bought a Kinect for our Xbox 360 in our residence hall. Um, if you have never played you seriously need to. Because it is awesome! When we bought the Kinect we bought games with it, one being Dance Central. Dance Central has some rockin' songs. MIA, Pitbull...those are the only two that come to my mind right now...but yeah. So we have been playing that game whenever we can (which isn't that much..only twice actually..but each time for several hours). When I first started this game, I was incredibly horrible. It was embarrassing actually. But tonight, I won a few rounds! BOOM! Tonight, we just had lots of fun. Four RAs, getting together, not judging, just loving each other and having fun.

That's what dancing can do. It can bring you into a good mood, no matter how bad of a dancer you are. It can allow for that sense of community. It's super neat.

Another dancing thing that has occurred was a Silent Dance Party put on by one of my co-workers. Essentially, you put your headphones in, turn the music up and dance to your own music. So everyone is dancing, but to different music. Being RAs, we like to teach people in everything we do=) There is this thing called the Wellness Wheel (something like that). Here's a cool picture of it:

In RA world, we try to hit on each piece of that wheel as often as possible. We achieve it through passive education, conversations, and programs. For this particular program, we created different stations pertaining to each area. For each area, we were to listen to a song that pertained to the certain area of wheel and dance accordingly. 

When I listen to songs, the beat definitely matters, but for me, the lyrics matter even more. Lyrics are huge for me (okay, okay I know that doesn't always hold true...I love hip hop songs, but definitely not because of their lyrics) and the songs I chose to listen to during this program were really intentional and I wanted to share it with you all. 

Environmental Wellness: I was supposed to listen to a song that created a healthy environment for me.
I chose to listen to "He Reigns" by Newsboys. Why? Because all God's children singing is what I want to be surrounded by. Surrounded by His glory, by His grace, by His love. In order for me to grow, I need to be with those who will uplift me, support me. 

Physical Wellness: Listen to a song that I can dance too. Um. Done. Easy. Cha Cha Slide. Doing the cha cha slide by myself was a fun experience. And something that was really cool about it, is that the other people who were there and dancing too, they knew EXACTLY what song I was listening to and they knew what was coming up. I realized that so long as my actions are consistent and how I present myself is constantly in line with my beliefs that people will know exactly what my purpose is, that people will know that positivity and encouragement is coming at them. I have to be consistent though. And sometimes, I just have to clap, clap my hands. 

Social Wellness
: "Down" by Jay Sean. Actually, this one was more food and drink a slushie, but for the purpose of this I added it to social (for the record, I did listen to this song, I did double songs for physical wellness, because I love to dance=D). Basically, I love hip hop. And I really like this song. And talk about swinging my arms and stomping my feet, because that is essentially all that happened. I just blasted my iPod and jammed out. It was just me, dancing. Just me, in my own little world, just me, dancing, just me getting down. Sometimes that's what I need. I need to just escape everything else, even if for only the length of a song, and just get my groove in, no matter how ridiculous I look.

Intellectual Wellness
: I was to listen to music that open me to new ideas, reminding me that I am always learning. I chose to listen to "Second Chances" by Stellar Kart. Originally, I was going to choose another song, but then that one came on my iPod and I thought, Hmm. You know, this works really well for this.   People screw up, I screw up, we all screw up. It sucks, but it happens. What's next? The idea of forgiveness is something so foreign to us. The true concept of it is something that is so hard to grasp. The decision to give someone a second chance, over and over and over again. That is something that I am always learning. When we provide an idea or follow through with an idea and it doesn't work and trying again, that's being open to new ideas.

Emotional Wellness: A song that can strengthen my ability to handle emotions in a constructive way. I listened to "Even Now" by Foolish Things. This song reminds that I am still loved, even now. That the person who hurt me is still loved, even now. It reminds me that God isn't going to leave my side, that when I'm at my wits' end, He is that strong tower. My emotions can be dominating my thoughts and this song says, Hey, calm yourself. Find rest. Still love people, because you are still loved.

Spiritual Wellness
: What gives me passion, what drives me, what's my purpose? "Set the World on Fire" by Britt Nicole. Right there. That's it. I want to set the world on fire, I want the world do be shining, I want the world to be consumed with this overwhelming, passionate love that Christ gives. I want to be part of the movement. I am fueled by Christ's love, my passion is to serve Christ by serving others. My purpose is to love people and share who Jesus is. I want to serve people in Africa, in India, in the Americas. Christ is involved in everything that I do and I want to be consistent. I want my words and actions to line up with my beliefs. I want to forgive people, just as Christ forgave me. I want to do crazy things, be silly, be real. I want to be part of the body of Christ and know about the other parts of His body and how we can most effectively work together. I want to show you who Jesus is. I want you to know about this overwhelming and consuming love. Because it is awesome. 

By the way, want to see me for real dance and sing? These are the only two videos I have. Neither are overly great and the dancing one you can hardly see me. But hey!

Dancing (I am in the maroon shirt--short and blonde, in front of Chris, the tall kid in the blue=))
Singing (Hopefully a little more obvious to recognize the green shirt.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

For starters...

I have 986543 things to tell you and 46757867938490374872 things on my to do list. But I didn't want to keep you hanging TOO long and wanted to share with you what is going to be happening this summer. It's currently past 2am and I'm kind of tired, as it's been a looooong week, so the background info won't be an abundant amount, but hopefully enough.

I'm going to India (under the assumption I can raise enough funds) over the summer. Here's basically how it came about:

  1. I toyed around with the idea of going on a mission trip to Germany, because I sincerely miss my friend Lisa, who studied abroad from Germany at NAU and I got to know her for the last couple of months of her stay.
  2. I thought about going to the Passion conference, that main one happened at the start of the new year. 
  3. I thought about going on a mission trip over Spring Break. 
So obviously India wasn't part of ANY of those plans. All I really know for sure was that I wanted to spend as much "free time" as I could serving God by serving others. And I didn't want to go to Germany just to visit Lisa (though that's not a bad idea...), but to ALSO serve Germany. I decided not to go to the Passion conference, because I knew I couldn't afford summer or spring break if I did that. I got more information on specific Spring Break trips I wanted to go on, but many of them weren't happening over my week of spring break. After lots of searching, researching, rationalizing, etc I found this India trip and applied to it. (This was like a...three month process or something before I decided to actually apply). I applied, I interviewed, I got accepted. I then realized I should probably tell my parents=) That was a fun conversation....note to self: Parents want to keep their daughters safe and really love them.

Anyways. They are more or less on board. And I get to hang out with my family all of spring break. And one of the girls I went to South Africa with. Yeah, she is going to India too. How awesome is that? 

Here is my support letter that I just finished. Check it out...

Less than a year ago, I had a pretty narrow view of what God could do and how big and powerful He really was. Despite the fact that I have been a Christ follower since the age of nine, I saw God as the god of America, and not the i am or the Creator of the Universe as He so claimed to be. Within a year God has been proving to me time and time again that He truly is the God of this world.

As many of you know, in July, 2010 I went to South Africa and was able to do what 2 Timothy 2:2 commands us to do: “…Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.” With 14 other people from North America, I traveled to the free state province of South Africa and immersed myself in relationship evangelism. I offer a heartfelt thank you to the many people who supported me with prayer and financial support for this life-changing event.

This coming summer, God has asked me to “GO” once more. However, this time it is not to South Africa, but rather to India, Goa. And it is not for two weeks, but rather for two months, from June 3, 20110-August 2, 2011. This trip to India, Goa is a Real Life trip with Adventures in Missions (

For these two months, I will help provide basic nutrition to women and children, teach English, visit slum communities, lead women in daily devotions, participate in children’s programs, and come along side those have escaped the sex trafficking industry. I will have the opportunity to express how great and vast the love of Christ is to women and children who are in bondage of the sex trafficking industry.

I am currently in my sixth semester at Northern Arizona University and ever since my second semester, I have written a plethora of papers about the sex trafficking industry. I have written research papers and argumentative papers, and have done research on the correlation of pornography usage and knowledge about the sex trafficking industry for my social research methods class (SOC 355W). For each paper and project, I have done extensive research on the topic and have become equipped with knowledge about the sex trafficking industry. In India, this industry thrives. I believe that throughout these past five semesters, God has been equipping me with profound knowledge on the industry and stirred my heart to serve those specifically in the grips of the sex trafficking industry.

As I prepare for this trip, I would like to ask for you to partner with me in prayer.  Your prayers will give me the strength and courage to do what God is asking of me. They will offer opportunities for doors to open to allow me to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love and compassion.

In addition to prayer, there is another significant way in which you can be part of this and will be a contribution to God’s Kingdom and is one that I ask you to prayerfully consider, as it is through financial support. This two-month trip to India, Goa is approximately $4,200. That figure applies to my international transportation and the majority of my expenses while in India. In addition to that, I must also raise enough money to cover the required immunizations and my domestic airfare to/from Chattanooga, TN, where I will meet the rest of my team and have a weeklong training session before departing to India. I am estimating those costs to bring my total to about $4,900.  

I have enclosed a response card, which invites you to share in this ministry. If, after prayer, you feel led to financially support this endeavor, please make checks payable to Adventures In Missions and return the response card with your donation to

Adventures In Missions
PO Box 534470
Atlanta, GA 30353-4470

The response card will provide AIM with the information necessary to send you a receipt for your donation.  Please send all donations by March 8, 2011.

Adventures In Missions is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c) (3) non- profit organization.  Donors will receive receipts for their gifts with the understanding that the disbursement of those gifts lies completely at the discretion of Adventures In Missions and that the gifts are non-refundable and non-transferable, per IRS regulations.  Gifts may be tax deductible; please consult a tax advisor.

There are so many adjectives to describe how I am feeling, yet hardly any of them see adequate enough. Words like afraid and excited come to mind. You may follow me on my blog at Attached, I have enclosed specific bible verses to be of encouragement.

In His Service,

-Ashley Coulter

Bible Verses (In order by books)

Leviticus 25:35
If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.

Deuteronomy 15:10
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Romans 12:8
If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Hebrews 6:10
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

1 Peter 5:7
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.