Tuesday, August 30

:: Pager #4 Correction ::

Please pardon the mistake, but I listed the wrong pager number for the Sheppards (pager #4). Their CORRECT number is 334-705-9215.

Our 5th pager has been given to Tracey Menotti, a young mother raising two children while also battling breast cancer. Her pager number is 334-705-9214.

To lessen the confusion in the future, we have set up a 1-800 number. Dial the number listed below, and all of the Olivia Charles Foundation Prayer Pagers will be paged at once. Hopefully this will simplify things from here on out. Each recipient will still keep their individual number, so if you are praying for one specific person or need, please continue to use that instead of the 800 number.

So, to recap, here are all of the pager recipients names and needs:

1) The Zeigler Family-lost their 2 year old daughter Ella a few months ago
2) Sherry-recently lost her husband and has two children
3) The Mims Family-18-month-old daughter Arlington just had cochlear implant surgery
4) The Sheppard Family-6-month-old daughter Mary Graham has scoliosis, hip dysplasia, and in undergoing genetic testing
5) Tracey Menotti-mother of two children battling breast cancer

To page all of the recipients at once dial, 1-800-684-0998.

Sorry for the mix up and thanks for being faithful to pray for these individual needs.

:: Arlington Update & Thoughts ::

This is sweet Arlington on her way home from the hospital early this morning. Yesterday she had her cochlear impant surgery and it couldn't have gone better. I sat with Terri & David at the hospital yesterday and was amazed at the sheer number of prayer pages they rec'd while I was there. During the 4 hour time period it was easily 50 pages or more. It would go off while the doctor called from the OR with an update, it would go off while we were praying with their pastors, etc, etc. It was an emotional day for me. It was the first time I have talked about the pager ministry and why we started it to strangers. That was hard. But it was also a day of being extremely proud of my little girl. As the pager went off, I would silently tell her that she did this. Because of her, so many people are being comforted by Jesus's people. It still amazes me that she accomplished all of this in such a brief time here on earth.

Sunday when we were at church we sang a song that has resonated greatly with me. Here are some of the lyrics:
"When the oceans rise and thunder's roar,
I will sail with you above the storm.
Father, you are King over the flood,
and I will be still, and know You are God."

I've found myself silently singing these words over the last few days. There is a since that as life swirls out-of-control around me I can soar above it all with Him. I am doing a study that I would highly recommend by Nancy Guthrie called, "The One Year Book of Hope." She has a very heart-wrenching story of loss of her own, but what is more remarkable to me is the choice she makes every day to use her life and circumstances to glorify Him and help others. In her book she says to a woman who also lost a child that..."Your son has given you an incredible gift. He has given you the gift of being forced to reconsider the very purpose of your life. Those who are sailing through a comfortable life at this point have not yet been forced to carefully consider their lives and surrender their dreams. But because you have been shaken to the core, you see clearly that if you cling to your own plans and desires, you will never discover the freedom and joy found in losing your life for Jesus."

Last night I was reading Ecclesiastes 7 and came across these verses:

"The day you die is better than the day you are born." Ecc. 7:1

"Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool think only about having a good time." Ecc. 7:3-4

I can't say that before Olivia passed I ever really thought about death. It was not something I wanted to happen. I'm sure you feel the same way. But it is undeniable. We will all pass away, whether we live long lives or short, it is the inevitable end to every human body. But with Christ we have victory over death. I remind myself that this is only the beginning, and I have the hope that the ending will only be the beginning to an eternal life so much better than even the best things in this life.

As the weather changes and I see leaves start to fall, I get sad. A time of year that used to be full of excitement for me is now a reminder of the one year mark of loosing Olivia that is right around the corner. Much of me wants to press fast-forward through the next five months of holidays, anniversaries and birthdays. Please pray for us over these coming months of lot of change and stress. I pray that this anticipation I am feeling will be much worse than the actual days we are dreading, which is usually the case. Pray that one day we will be able to be happy that the leaves are changing and the weather is breaking.

Thanks, friends.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 27

:: Prayer Pager #4 ::

Yesterday I delivered our 4th prayer pager to the Sheppard family. Their precious (and I DO MEAN PRECIOUS) 6-month-old baby girl Mary Graham has scoliosis, hip dysplasia, and is undergoing genetic testing. Next month she will get a body cast to help prevent her spine from curving any further. Her mom Jennifer and I are friends from our Covenant Pres days and her dad Lee's father was my pediatric dentist growing up in Tallahassee!

Sweet Mary Graham let me give her a bottle during my visit yesterday and rewarded me with lots of smiles. The minute I saw her I cried because that bright, gummy smile she was giving me reminded me so much of Olivia. Parrish was also instantly in love. When he wasn't dressing up like a super hero or "working" in the creek with his buddy Loftin he was rubbing her head and saying, "Mommy, isn't she cute?" He has a serious affection for "girl babies."

Please keep MG, her parents and her brother Loftin and sister Lucy in your prayers over the coming months and then page them at (334) 705-9214. There are many uncertainties in their lives right now, but I am so thankful that they are believers and are trusting that God "saw Mary Graham before she was born. Every day of her life was recorded in his book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Psalm 139:16

Jennifer keeps their blog updated with the latest news and prayer requests, so visit seekingdailybread.blogspot.com for updates and more of their story.

Thursday, August 25

:: Mason Jar Chandelier ::

I just posted that I wouldn't post this until tomorrow, but I am on a roll, so here it is...

The much-anticipated mason jar chandelier project is complete. Wish I could say that it was a breeze, but well, that would be a flat out lie. It was easy enough to gather the supplies and follow the instructions for wiring I got from Kara Paslay's fabulous tutorial (here) but we had some snags when it came to hanging it. The first problem? My weakling arms couldn't hold it up above my head long enough to give Cannon any time to wire it. The second problem? A crossed wire. But, like they say...the third time is a charm. With the help of a painter working at the cabin Cannon had it up in no time and shining bright. Here are some images we took along the way:

We did deviate from Kara's tutorial slightly by using 18 jars total instead of 22 and using a standard ceiling cap kit instead of the pvc cap cut down and spray painted (we don't have a good saw so this was out of necessity, but I think turned out nicely-we just had to use a drill bit to make the hole in the cap bigger to fit all of the lamp cords)

Now that we've got the first one under our belts, we'll be able to do a second with no problems, which is a good thing because I really, really want one of these on the side porch at our new house and I have left over materials just waiting to be put to good use!

I've mentioned before that I've been helping to select paint colors for the family river cabin this chandelier now calls home, so I had to post some pictures of how great it is turning out.

We're looking forward to many river cruises and fun times at this cabin and I am so excited about how it is turning out. I wish I had taken more before pictures because the transformation really is amazing.

:: Missing Being "Me" ::

Sometimes I just miss being “normal”. You know, someone who doesn’t have such a depth to them. I want to be someone who hasn’t been through a lot. I want to be care-free and full of ignorant bliss! Just for a day, I want to feel like “me” again.

Where is this coming from? Oh, I don’t know. I think it just builds up over time and then just hits me like a ton of bricks at one random, all-by-myself moment, like on our drive home from the beach yesterday. Parrish was asleep in the back of the car and it just hit me. I am not myself. I never will be. The “old” me has passed away.

I hate that I never know how comments or well-meaning thoughts from others are going to affect me. One day a comment can be well-taken, appreciated, and understood, and the next day a similar comment can be like a punch in the stomach, knocking the wind out of me, taking me by surprise and reminding me of the gaping hole in my chest.

I hate that I never feel at ease leaving Parrish with anyone that I'm not super close to. If I am not going to be there, I panic. I feel out of control. I feel a “bad feeling” that something is going to happen to him while I am away. I miss the innocent trust I used to have that the unthinkable could never happen to me, to mine, to us.

Because that trust is gone, it is hard to trust anything or anyone at all in this rotten world. When I get to that point, which is more often than I’d like to admit, I turn to the only place that I can find any comfort-to the words of our Lord and savior. He says,
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” (KJV) Psalm 118:8”

So, “I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2

This is the daily truth for me...He is my fortress and protection from all of the out-of-control things in life. I can’t control how I am going to feel or what people are going to say at any given moment. I can’t control the thoughts and images that run through my mind. But I know that if I lay them at his feet and seek his face, I will have peace. Peace that can’t be described with mere words.

Here are some pictures from our beach get-away this week with our buds Britney, Kaden & Gabriella. I am so thankful for the peace and beauty of God's creation at the beach and for easy friends to spend some down time with. Parrish and Kaden are inseperable friends. I love listening to their little “big” conversations. Some things I overheard while we were there:

Parrish to Gabby-”Do you want a popsicle?”

Gabby to Parrish-”Yes”

Parrish to Gabby-”No, say-Yes, sir!”

Parrish to Kaden-”Do you want to borrow my legos for a long time?”

Kaden to Parrish-”Yes”

Parrish to Kaden-”Ok, you can borrow them for a long time, but not all the way until we go to heaven.”

The trip went by way too fast, but we are looking forward to doing it again this fall. Thanks for the laughs and fun, guys! Between beach trips, bike riding, pool time, and fountain time we were worn out, as evidenced by Sweet P below. This was him before we even hit the bay bridge on our drive home...

My sentiments exactly. Check back tomorrow because while we were off galavanting at the beach my sweet hubby was hard at work hanging our mason jar chandelier!

Friday, August 19

:: Prayer Pager #3 ::

Last night I delivered our third prayer pager to our friends, The Mims Family. Their daughter Arlington was born 3 months after Olivia and they were sweet friends rolling around in play pens together at just a few months old. This picture of them was taken on the 4th of July, 2010. We went to see the fireworks show in Chelsea Park with the Mims and Olivia and Arlington were fascinated by the bright lights (as you can see by the shocked looks on their faces!)

When Arlington was 9 months old her mom Terri noticed she didn't turn and react to her when she walked in the door until she has seen her mom face to face. Suspecting some mild hearing loss they went to the doctor to be shocked to find out that Arlington was profoundly deaf. The last several months have been full of audiologist appointments, therapy, testing and MRI's to see if she'd be a candidate for cochlear implants, etc. Praise God! She is a candidate for the implants and will be having a 4 hour surgery on Monday, August 29th to get them. The work doesn't stop there though-there will be intensive therapy and training to help her learn to interpret the electrical impulses the implants will send her brain in the weeks and months following the surgery. Please keep Arlington, her doctors and her parents and family in your prayers and then dial her prayer pager number to let the family know:

334-705-9213 - When you hear the tone just dial 111# and then hang up, this will cause the pager will vibrate letting them know you have prayed for them.

Wednesday, August 17

:: Good News ::

Captain America (aka Parrish) and Bumblebee (aka Kaden) have been on duty, defending the world (and my house) from bad guys!

Even better news?? Our house is under contract! We are so thankful for this answer to prayer. If all goes well with our home inspection and the house the buyer's are selling closes as scheduled on September 16th, we'll be closing with them on September 19th and moving into our new house in Mount Laurel that week! Please pray these two things go smoothly and everything falls into place.

Parrish goes back to Mother's Day Out after labor day, so it will be nice to have some quiet time to get packed (hey, we're already half way there-we never unpacked our kitchen, basement or dining room from the first time we sold!) unpacked and settled. His only request? A BLUE room-no shocker there, right? His other obsession..sticks! I'm wondering if the stick "p" in his room started this years ago, but whatever the trigger, my son absolutely ADORES sticks. He collects them everywhere we go. We have stacks of sticks on our front stoop, in my car, Cannon's car, the back porch...generally, EVERYWHERE! And he remembers certain sticks! If I slyly try to throw one back in the woods inevitably a day later he'll ask, "Mama, where is that stick that was REAAALLLY long and tall?" One time I threw one out of my car into the parking lot in front of Cannon's office. The next day, Cannon had Parrish at the office and as he climbed from the car he said, "Look, Daddy! My stick!"

I know I promised some pictures of our mason glass chandelier this week, but unfortunately, attempt #1 at hanging it didn't work out so well. We drove down to the river cabin last night to make the attempt and ended up needing longer screws than we had brought, and for that matter, we needed an additional set of STRONG hands to help us hold it up for 20 minutes straight while we got all the wires hooked together. Seems to me the making of the chandelier is the easy part...it's the hanging that's the kicker. As soon as it's up I promise to post pictures. In the meantime, this sneak peak of the process will have to do!

When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God's blessing. Romans 6:7

For now, we're just soaking up the rain and enjoying a generous crop....but we are still aware of this biblical fact in both happy times and sad:

If we are to share in God's glory we must also share in His suffering. Romans 8:15-17

I by no means think we are now exempt from further suffering, only that suffering so much has allowed me to enjoy happy moments like this even more.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 15

:: Featured on Kara Paslay Designs! ::

I woke up this morning to the best surprise! Kara Paslay of the very talented Kara Paslay Designs did a feature on our sweet Olivia, her foundation, and furniture on her popular blog karapaslaydesigns.blogspot.com.

This is the same design blog I mentioned yesterday-she is the one who posted the mason jar chandelier tutorial that we are using (almost finished with that, by the way-should have pictures posted soon).

I emailed her to tell her how inspiring and helpful her site is and to let her know I was going to add her to my blog roll. In reading about her on her blog, Kara is such a strong Christian and strives to shine His light while also pursuing her dreams. I immediately connected with her as I read and I am so thankful that she has let her readers know about us.

I pray God will use my blog to not only bring support for the Olivia Charles Foundation, but to help others facing a similar situation in their life. I want people to see our story and our ups and downs in life and be amazed at the Lord's graciousness and redeeming love.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord

Psalm 40:1-3

Sunday, August 14

:: Etsy ::

ShopOliviaCharles is now open for business on etsy! Since our main website is taking longer than expected to be built out, I went ahead and listed a few of our items on etsy in the meantime. Please check it out! We have had a tremendous response to our line at festivals this summer and are excited about this avenue for people around the country to purchase our stuff and help us raise money for Olivia's foundation. The best news is-we offer free shipping on every order, every day. Please spread the word to your friends and family, and look for us at several festivals this fall-the Mt Laurel Harvest Festival, Hot Strings Blue Grass Festival at the Preserve and the Downtown Leeds Festival, just to name a few. If you know of any great fall festivals, please comment with your suggestions-we'd love to check into them.

Speaking of etsy...one of the projects we're doing for our family lake cabin is a mason jar chandelier that I first got the idea for from etsy listings. Thanks to Kara Paslay Design's tutorial, Cannon and I are going to attempt to create one this afternoon. Wish us luck! I'll post some pictures this week.

Friday, August 12

:: Fun & Games ::

Parrish and I have found an additional use for my fabulous antique fender-disc shooting! Captain America (aka Parrish) has been using them as targets for his disc-shooting shield! Extra storage, seating, and a fun new game...didn't know one piece of furniture could provide all of that!
Turns out that the fender is not the only antique store item I've purchased recently that can be a fun game. This "magic magnet" that was used in old speakers at the time of the World's Fair makes a pretty good ring game itself! It is so strong that it is nearly impossible to miss, which is an added bonus. It will literally "grab" them out of the air or off the floor. Crazy. You might be wondering why on earth we would have purchased this in the first place and for that explanation I have one word-Cannon. When we were in Mobile buying the art deco globes I was talking about in a previous post he got them to "throw it in" as a bonus if we bought the globes (ever the salesman). Now it has two uses-a cool decorative display AND ring game. (I can hear Cannon saying, "I told you so") I wasn't positive we needed that at the time.
The above floor lamp was purchased at Scott's for $25 dollars. I have a thing for floor lamps with an adjustable head and uno shade. It needed to be rewired so after a trip to Bryant Electric in Hwood to get the parts we needed Cannon set out to rewire it himself and succeded in no time. I had to brag on him for this...I'm positively giddy that he can turn my old "treasures" into something useful.

With the change of every season I get the itch to add a few more pieces to our wardrobes and had to share with you this find. Bought this top online at oldnavy.com. There is also a navy/grey version I love, too. I went online to buy an inexpensive long-sleeve top to go under my new Matilda Jane dress and new underwear for Parrish and somehow ended up with a this in my cart. I know this has happened to you, too...it's like going to Target for one thing you need and walking out with a cart full of things you didn't really NEED but HAD to have once you were in there! Oh well, at least at $17 it didn't break the bank!

So what have I been doing lately besides shopping you may ask? Well, I've been helping a few more friends and family with decorating projects (I know what you're thinking-that's shopping too-but like I tell Cannon-at least it is spending someone else's money!!) :) This is such a blessing to me. I love design and having projects to focus on that I enjoy is good for me. I love to see it all come together in the end. I'll post some pictures of my two latest projects in a later post. My friend Susan and I have been working on her formal living room and I've been helping my in-law's with our family cabin on the Coosa River. It's a cute little cedar shake house with a tin roof-precious!

Several of you have asked how things are going with the house and the answer is, pretty good. We've had lots of showings and two people come back for second showings, so there is interest. We haven't found the right buyer quite yet, but are hopeful the perfect someone is right around the corner.

Without going into a lot of details, I'd like to ask you all to continue to pray for our family. For our patience, endurance, and strength to weather the storms and uncertainties of this life that we are currently walking through.

Thanks, friends.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 11

:: Prayer Pager #2 ::

This week we delivered our second OC Foundation prayer pager to a recently widowed woman with teenage children in our community. Her name is Sherry. Please keep her and her children in your prayers and then dial her pager number to let her know she's been lifted up. I know I've said this before, but this tangible method of prayer has had such an impact on Cannon and I that I KNOW it will do the same to these recipients.

So, to recap, we currently have two pagers out there:
1) The Zeigler's-lost their 2 year old daughter in July-(334) 705-9211
2) Sherry-lost her husband recently. (334) 705-9212

Just dial the pager number and follow the voice directions (it will tell you to dial 111#, and then hang up)

Thank you for supporting this ministry. It is so healing to do this in memory of our baby girl Olivia, whose light is still shining bright in this dark world.

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." Psalm 56:8

"But I called on your name, Lord, from deep within the pit. You heard me when I cried, "Listen to my pleading!" Hear my cry for help! Yes, you came when I called, you told me, "Do not fear." Lamentations 3:55-57

Thursday, August 4

:: Adventures ::

Parrish has been in Chattanooga with CC the past two days visiting his cousins or "brothers" as he called them before leaving. CC sent these pictures as a testament to how much fun these 4 boys have been having together. We've missed him terribly, but it has been good to have some couple time and we're looking forward to seeing his smiley face today when he gets home.

While he's been away, Cannon and I have had some adventures of our own. After years of begging, Cannon finally decided to come to the gym with me. He's not one for "group" exercise and has prided himself on his lack of a gym membership for the past 33 years. But, knowing that exercise will help with stress relief he finally relented and went with me to a spin class. How hard can riding a stationary bike be, right? Wrong. I think Cannon has a new respect for what we women do when we go to the gym. Not as easy as it seems!

Now Cannon is determined to be in competition with me over all things exercise. I think it's going to be his personal mission to be better than me at spinning within the month. Sadly, I don't doubt at all that this will happen.

In an effort to "keep up the good work" of exercising, on day two we hiked the new Highway 41 greenway. 1.8 miles to soccer blast didn't seem very far until we did it. I don't think the 110 heat index helped us at all. When we emerged at soccer blast we decided to take the shorter, more direct (yet scary) route of jogging down highway 41 to get back to the car.

The most hilarious part of it all was when a Shelby County sheriff drove past us on the side of the road and turned around to see if we were walking down the road because our car had broken down! If that didn't tell us we looked out of shape, I don't know what would! Even sadder than that is that he gave us a ride back to our car. Cannon tried to get him to pull someone over (preferably one of our friends) while we were with him, but to no avail. Guess those kind of things are aganist regulations.

We were glad to have some comic relief AND a quicker way back to the comfort and a/c of our car! If only Parrish had been with us. He would have thought riding in the back of a police car was the coolest thing ever. Let's hope he doesn't ever see the back of one during his teenage years.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 2

:: Latest Finds & Explaining the Inexplicable ::

Parrish and I packed it up yesterday after going to my friend Rorie's Matilda Jane clothing show (more on that later) and headed to Huntsville to answer an SOS call from my friend Mary who needed help selecting finishes for her new home renovation. Although the majority of the trip was filled with paint, hardware, flooring and fixture selection we did manage to hit an antique store across the street from Lowe's where I found these beauties...
Yes, I am still shopping for the house I don't live in yet, but I can't seem to help myself. It's a nice mental break to decorate our new house in my head, so I go with it. Anyway, the piece is actually an old arts & crafts style fender (I think they used these to store coal by the fireplace). I plan to use the storage bins for more modern day storage of toys and as extra seating but I'm thinking their placement will be the same on either side of the fireplace (although removing the cross bar and grouping them together at the end of a bed or under a writing desk would be cool, too). I have been looking and drooling over several storage ottomans over the last few months bc I planned to do two near the fireplace. Most of the ones I was in love with were none too cheap and not nearly as original as these so I was glad to find both a price break and something unique to fit the bill. I think they're at once glamorous and functional.

Couldn't resist including a picture of our sweet design assistants Parrish and Crews. Mary had the ingenious idea of packing them goodie bags from the Target dollar aisle to keep them busy while we shopped and as evidenced by the dirty knees and coloring books on the hardware aisle, it worked like a charm. They were such good little helpers and were especially excited about the green "teenage mutant ninja turtles" hats as they had just been watching that movie in the car. I'd say they're the cutest ninja turtles around!
Now onto the Matilda Jane show. This could not go without mention bc I am IN LOVE with these clothes. Does this dress not remind you of the days of big hair and short mini skirts only with a mod, refined look?
This picture doesn't even do this easy dress justice-the details and seaming are so flattering and it's light weight and easy to throw on alone or over leggings/skinny jeans.
I can hardly resist anything in the color combo of orange/turq/brown so this wrap cardigan was a must. It looks so cute with these ruffle leggings...
And that Annalise top-I don't think it even needs comments. Just plain fabulous. Of course, I debated about whether to go to this show because their little girl clothing was one of my favorites for Olivia. I basically made a bee line for the adult clothes and then hid myself in Rorie's bedroom to try on while simultaneously trying to avoid looking at all of the cute things I would have been buying for Olivia and battling the urge to pretend she's still here and picking out some clothes for her anyhow. It's amazing how many times a day I want to do this-it's like my mind is telling me that if I bought her something in complete denial of reality maybe I could go home and she'd still be there.

Did anyone else play with these cardboard bricks as a kid? When Parrish was at Glorio's Aunt Susan dug these out of storage and he played with them for hours. I found a set at Homewood Toy & Hobby and bought them and we have played with them every day since. We've built a zoo for his stuffed animals, sky scrapers, a pet palace for red ryder, and a bunker to shoot bad guys from. The possibilities are really endless-today Parrish built a picnic bench and table for me to serve his lunch. Toys like these are my favorite because I get to see his little imagination at work.

That same little imagination works very hard to try to understand how his Sissy got to heaven. A few nights ago he was asking lots and lots of questions about why Olivia and Henry (the cat) had to pass away and asking quesstions we didn't know the answers to ourselves. It was like all of a sudden he just started remembering all sorts of horrible things about that day-the ambulance, being left at our friend's house as we took her to the hospital, why we couldn't take him with us and why he didn't get to say goodbye to Olivia or how she physically got to heaven from the hospital. With tears streaming down our faces we tried our best to explain the inexplicable to a 4-year-old who shouldn't have to be thinking about these things at such a young age. I feel so unsure about how to explain these things to him in a basic but not scary way and I've decided it's impossible. During our 2 hour talk that night he asked why God hasn't given us another baby yet and if he could do chores every day to be awarded with one. I tried to explain that it's not our actions that "win" us things with God-that we just have to pray and trust Him with these decisions. So right then and there he prayed, "Dear God, please send us two babies." I felt like my heart was in my throat. It was at once horrible and sweet...much like our lives these days. The beauty of the Lord is so real and near but amidst such sadness, it's hard to even understand ourselves, much less put it into words a 4-year-old can understand. I tell you this to ask you to please pray for his heart and ours as we do our best to parent him through all of this. We need the Lord to fill our mouths with His wisdom and not our own understanding.

Posted by Picasa