That One Best Friend + Pumpkin Smoothie

Growing up, I never had that one “best friend.” Sure, I had great friends in different stages, but they either ended up moving or we’d grow apart due to the different choices we made. In high school, I still couldn’t find her. I tried. I played several sports, so I tried to hang out with the jocks. But what can you do when they don’t invite you to hang out with them? (And I was way too shy to invite myself!) Then they started to party, and I was outta there. I tried to hang out with some of the solid Christian girls, but they all went to the same church and youth group, so I was out again.

In college, the struggle continued. I just wanted that one girl I could call on at any time to hang out with or share in my latest struggles. I don’t know how many times I cried out to God in my journal over this! I’m thankful for the girls God provided for different stages of life, but I was still stuck wondering, “Why can’t I have that one best friend that knows me from childhood until now?

It’s obvious now He just didn’t have it in His plans. Instead, I now have so many wonderful friends that know me in different stages of life. I see the importance and richness to these relationships. Because there are so many, each one brings a different perspective to life. And I love that. And, ultimately, He continues to teach me that He alone is my best friend; He’ll never move on, ditch me, or play hard to get. I’m learning to love that, too.

And then we moved overseas. I thought making new friends in every stage of life was hard, but making new ones literally every year is a whole ‘nother level!

I know for some it’s really tough to invest the time into new teammates or friends that you know will move away (or you’ll move on) in a short amount of time. But for me, I can’t not invest in them. If I didn’t, I’d be one miserable mama!

I’ve learned to initiate, knowing that if I don’t, I may not get to know that person. Since I like to cook and eat, I love inviting people over for an afternoon snack and a latte (ya know, during that magical kid’s nap hour?!) or to share a meal. As we all know, gathering around the table is a pretty special way to get to know someone or take the relationship a step deeper.

With that, here is a simple fall recipe. Where I am in the States right now, it’s cold. Unusually cold. So to think of drinking this smoothie makes me shiver to the bone, but every other fall when the weather is just starting to cool off, I love making these. Full of fall flavors, but can cool you off if it’s still hot. (For those of you who yearn for that yearly Pumpkin Spice Latte, try this one!)

And speaking of connecting with other ladies, have you heard?

This week, Velvet Ashes opened registration for Connection Groups once again. I was thankful to be part of a group in the Spring. What a wonderful experience to join with other women from literally all parts of the world doing the exact thing I’m doing. There were several moments during our times together that I would start to explain a certain cross-cultural situation, but gladly stopped myself and said, “Well, you already know how it is.” Friends at home are wonderful, but friends who understand the highs and lows of what we do are so special. So, go sign up for a group!  

**Registration is now full, but you can contact Velvet Ashes here to be notified when registration opens for the Spring Session**



Mmm..pumpkiny goodness coming up!



I know a pumpkin smoothie sounds a little weird, but in the words of my Daddy, “Don’t knock it til you try it!”

Pumpkin Smoothie

Makes: 2 smoothies

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 cup pumpkin puree (Go here to learn how easy this is to make!)

1 cup of milk (more if needed)

½ cup vanilla yogurt (or plain, and just add a dash of vanilla)

Pumpkin pie spice to taste—start with a few dashes (Go here to make your own)

Sweetener (honey, sugar, etc.) to taste

Sweet crackers (Digestives, graham, etc.), crushed

If you already made the pumpkin puree and have frozen it (I make several small pumpkins at a time, then freeze the puree lying flat in Ziploc bags.), you can use that. If not, just use the fresh puree and add in a small handful of ice cubes.

To make the smoothie, add milk and yogurt to a blender. Drop in the frozen pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and sweetener and blend until the frozen filling is completely pulverized. Add more milk or yogurt as needed to get it the consistency you’d like. As with everything you make, taste to see what else it needs before serving!

Pour into individual glasses and sprinkle the tops with graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately!


  1. Allison September 17, 2014

    I was just struggling with longing for that one best friend who has known me my whole life the other day. Thank you for explaining and resonating so clearly! I love your blog!

  2. Ashley Felder September 17, 2014

    Thanks, Allison! I’m glad He spoke to you through this. I’m not gonna lie, I still have my down days of wallowing and wondering why I didn’t get that one friend, but He sure doesn’t let it last for too long! Hope you can see the blessings God has given you today!

  3. Brittany September 20, 2014

    I’ve always craved that one best friend and God gave me a couple the year or two before leaving the States.  They have continued to mean a lot to me as I’m in the field and I’m so grateful!  I SO did not want to say goodbye to them!  I thought, well, thanks God for finally giving me besties right as I’m leaving!  But how gracious He is!  Because they have been such a gift to me even across the ocean.

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