Tuesday, February 23, 2016

what wives need { while their husbands work away from home }

My husband is going on this 3rd year working away from home. I wish I could say it felt normal, or settled, or easier. But it doesn't. But we work very hard to maintain a new kind of normal for us in this season. Only God. 

This is what a typical week looks like for us- he works a 70 week and I wrangle 2 kids, a house, all the errands, cooking, chores, school functions, sports, doctors appointments, sickness, and the list goes from there. 99% of the time without a BREAK. We live way out in the country- so going to the store is a drive. Now, I know there are hurting mama's out there whose husbands do the same, and there is loneliness and depression that can set in. Don't get me wrong- I am thankful upon thankful for my life. I understand my husbands job and this season of life is what is has to be right now- and I know Gods calling on my husband. I am writing this to offer real encouragement and a real look into a wife's life when her husband is away working. What we need and what we don't need. 

-- we need help. Little to big things. My family and neighbors are a GOD SEND. They have helped me with meals and mowing my lawn because there is absolutely no way I could mow the acre and a half we live on while my husband is away. Other people have stopped by and cleaned my house, asked to watch the kids, brought food. It's so appreciated! Thank you Jesus. But there are also people I thought would help us in this season that never do, and that's ok. This season showed the test of the real people in my corner. 

-- we need a break. When somebody just offers to watch my kids for 15 minutes while I run to the store- that's Heaven on earth- I'm telling you! And when my husband comes home- date night is vital and my sweet dad offers to watch them. Deep breath. 

--- we need sleep. Sleep is a must. One person doing it all when he is away is most important. When the baby naps during the day- I rest too. I go to bed early. 

--- we need time with Jesus. This is number one. This is the only way I can do what I do. Cling to him. Raise my marriage up to him to protect it during this season. Ask Him to strengthen me and my husband. Just and only JESUS. Praying to get me through the day. The hardest days. 

-- we DON'T need criticism! I finally got to where I stood my ground. I'm tired of hearing 'oh you must of picked money over family.' Or 'I could never do that' or 'your kids will never remember their daddy'. My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE THEIR DADDY. They FaceTime him everyday. We didn't pick money over family. My husband is providing for his family. And frankly, it's non of anybody's business. You've got to get a tough skin when dealing with ignorance. I sure have. Bless their hearts

It's a whole different lifestyle when a woman's husband works away. Her marriage, her family, her faith is in need of  lots of prayer. Pray for her. Help her. Extend grace. I know now what it feels like and what I will do when I meet another woman in my situation. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

my year of YES { it's not a resolution }


I adore the idea of resolutions. Fresh starts. The start of New Years. A brand new slate. But I always fail when I make resolutions. And then I feel so bad about myself. I always make broken promises saying I will try again tomorrow, next week. I'll get it right soon. But it never happens. When the new year was approaching, I felt like I wanted to do something new- but I didn't want to put it into the category of a resolution. I took my thoughts and prayed about it- for a while. What God has placed on my heart is this- and hopefully it will help you too.

1. Expectations. It's my worst enemy. When I put too many on myself- I give up. When I ask myself to reach the impossible in my own strength- I will fail. Over and over. 

2. Resolutions are empty promises. Unless we take our intentions for the new year and ask Him to help and direct us- it will never succeed. Lesson, big time learned. 

I also love the idea of the one word 365, but I wanted it to be something that I could take with me everyday and into every situation. Every circumstance. Not just a word, but a way of life. A word that would force me to do the hard work that Jesus laid on my heart for this year. 

My word this year is---> YES 

Yes to all the things I would of always said no to. Yes to overcoming fear. Yes to letting go of things that aren't for me anymore. Yes to growing into new skin. Yes to being brave. Yes to shedding weight. Yes to forgiveness. Yes to unplugging. Yes to His strength and not my own. Yes to His ways and not mine. Yes to everything bigger than me that I don't have control of. 

I'm not exactly sure what that will all look like. But no expectations, no worldly plan, no assumptions, no calculating. Just Jesus and just my heart open wide. Yes to trust. 

I'm not HIM, but he's already promised me if I am faithful- He will take me farther. And friends, this year I turn 30. I want to quit wasting time, quit being distracted, quit comparing and running the race of this life. I just am so ready to see what He does and what He paints for my family and I. Im jumping all in.

If you have a resolution- turn into a journey to take this year between you and the Lord. You have a million more chances of succeeding than doing it alone.

If you want to follow what the journey my year of yes will look like- I am documenting that here- on my Instagram. And on this blog from now on you will get to read more from my heart on what it means. #yearofyes

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

when its been a hard year/ and you're ready for a new one

I'm not big on resolutions, but I am big on prayers for the new year. I know God moves in BIG ways. This year has been tough, to say the least. As much as I want to say I am so much stronger because its been 2 years since my husband has worked away from home- I am actually not. I am the opposite. I need Jesus and His strength.

Trying to find our way and where God wanted us to be this year has made me want to lose my mind. It wasn't easy, or fast, or clear.

The dust is settling, and finally its a bit easier to breathe. That's so much better.

Raising these kids alone 3 weeks at a time has been tough. I have learned so much about myself, God and what I can leave behind and say NO to. Which is a big part of what I want to take into the next year. Growing into the skin I want to be in.

I used to be distracted, and wasted a lot of time on things not important. These last 2 years have thrown me into a lesson I am so glad I learned- be intentional. Sounds so cliche, right? I think everybody wants that. I think everybody blogs about it or writes it on instagram. But its another thing to live it. Which is what I have been seeking, and its blind sighted me and forced me to grow up.

In the BEST of ways.

So I don't blog much anymore. Only when I feel led. And social media makes my stomach hurt. What I want to take into the new year is the lessons I have learned from this year, but also my new found skin.

So no resolutions or distractions.

Because its the hardest and the best to live real, and determined to live dedicated.

I fail at it 1,788,455 times a day. But I'm also really getting good at getting back up again and trying. And asking for forgiveness.

Friday, December 4, 2015

peace in the wait.

I haven't written here in a long time. Partly because, I didn't know what was going to be in this season in my life and I felt that if I wrote about it too early, it might not go through.

We spent most of this year, back and forth with Jesus, about buying a house. It wasn't easy for us. We didn't know if we would even qualify, get approved, have a down payment, where would we be moving that would be best for us, and so on. We are just merely a family on one income. We sacrifice.  After 8 months, God gave His answer and we were approved, beyond all my doubt and fears.

I can't even believe it. Here are us two, my husband and I, who come from nothing, had to work so hard to achieve anything, and we are buying a home. Feels scary and surreal. It's a small little home on a piece of Tennessee country and I feel like I could fly I am so excited. Maybe because for most of my life, I haven't really had a place to call home. And this feels like home. Permanent. A place to dream and build.

When I first moved here I would just stare out the kitchen window and pray that I would never know anything different than this view, and I hope we would never move. But we never had to, because God did.

He moved and started a whole new chapter. Its been hard, to say the least. In my previous post, I described I am truly not the one to wait. I will drive myself literally out of my own mind. I just know that if I have to wait, it will fail.

God is working on that part of my heart.

And I can't tell you how many times I've come to this computer to share, and I just can't get the words out. Mostly because this year has been so up in the air. A lot of finding myself, and a lot of finding forgiveness and grace and approval not in home loans- but in Him.

Here is Christmas, and I have slowed way down and asked God to have me seek SIMPLE and FOCUSED. I don't deserve any of this, not one bit, so its a lot to take in when God blesses so BIG. He is so good, I just can't even take it all in.
Just God, this season. If you are waiting on something BIG, just keep waiting. There is peace in the wait.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

waiting in the hallway { a lesson in contentment }

I'm not one for waiting.

I want it done. I want it done right now. No confusion or misleading or detours. If I have a goal in mind I will make a sure fire way to make it happen. This is my biggest flaw. I will go over everyone's head, even God's to try and execute my plan. 

And I was sure as pie I wanted my family to move to Nashville at the start of this year. It made sense. It felt right. I said a few little prayers to God and made a few calls- and bam- had a realtor and a bank and a couple of houses lined up. 

As sure as I was everything was going to work out according to MY GOAL- it burned. It crashed. It fell. And I literally lost my mind in the process of trying to move my family in my own strength. I was so sure this is what God wanted, but I hadn't even hardly asked Him. I broke down. 

The answer, at the end of it all- was no. 

NO, Ashley. NO. 

No because you aren't Jesus and you don't get to decide it. You can't ask for blessings, and then get them and then decide that's not good enough and rearrange and pick of the parts you don't like and make a whole new plan. 

We live in a beautlful house that we don't even deserve to live in, we live in it because a sweet old man decided to give us a chance. He said yes and he didn't even have to. Others were waiting in line for it. 

Discontentment is ugly and it happens to all of us. It's because the enemy likes to lie to us and show us what we think will be better, prettier, bigger. And what we have will never be enough. 

I stopped the home buying process in Nasville in its tracks. I love Nashville. But it's a no. God has asked us to stay put, and in that beautiful little country house- find contentment. Find our story and our way. I trust God and what I can't see more than what I can. How dare I even begin a journey in my own strength. How dare I not seek His face. It's been a huge lesson, conviction and part of testimony. 

So I have begun something new. Humbling myself and asking for forgiveness- and listening. Waiting. Enjoying small moment living- right where I am. Enjoying my blessing- exactly what I have. Not looking ahead at what I am going to have. Or what's next. Or another plan I have. 

I am going to enjoy what I prayed for. I prayed for what I have right now. A home and a family. 

More on contentment to come.

Monday, July 6, 2015

You would NEVER know these were Thrifted.

I am sharing this post in hopes to inspire other moms to see we don't need to be in the "kid competition" where we fight for the cutest, expensive clothes. I don't thrift everything. If I find a good deal at Walmart, Target, KMart, I shout with glee. :)

I used to be a slave to buying kids clothes thinking I had to keep up, fit in, and feel accepted. Finally after a bunch of cost, my children growing out of them too fast- I realized maybe I should try something different. Here are some snippets of my findings.

Both dresses KMart- on sale $5 a piece. Boots- $1.99 Goodwill

Shirt $1 Yard Sale/ Skirt $3 on sale at Walmart

Dress $1.49 Goodwill

Both dresses Goodwill $1.49 a piece

Old Navy dress $2.49 at Goodwill

It's hard to cloth children at every season. Buying out of season helps me too. Almost all the winter clothes are on sale at summer and vice versa. My tips for Goodwill are to make sure all pieces of clothing are not stained, ripped, and in good condition. Also, don't be a slave to buying those expenseive hair bows. Mostly just something simple in your child's hair is so pretty. 

Hope this helps did me!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


This is very near to my heart as I have struggled with it so much in motherhood- letting my kids have my iPhone, my iPad, the TV to play with so I can have a break. 

It sounds so simple and to many other moms, it may have no affect or no problem, but in this home we do. My children are very very technology obsessed. And it's been my fault. As a mom whose husband works away from the home, I very very very rarely get a break. So at night or periors during the day I would let them have devices so I could have silence. But this has completely back fired because in the last couple months I have dealt with some horrible tantrums from my children and I didn't know why. My children weren't using their imaginations or running free they weren't engaging in anything but a screen. There is a little phrase a sweet friend on my Instagram used one day that really tugged at my heart. #childhoodunplugged. Photos of her children outside- running and playing- adventuring made me really see that it's so vital for children to not miss out on just being kids. Making up games and climbing trees. It's also very vital I don't carry a phone with me all the time or be distracted either. My babes are constantly watching me and what I do. So I am NO expert but here are a few slices of things I am trying with our time that has completely changed things around for more of a distraction free way of life for me and my babies. 

 It's not good to be on social media all the time for me personally. The enemy likes to use our weaknesses to his advantage, and this is a weakness of mine. Since I stay at home with the kids, I am especially targeted. If I have a free moment, I'd just jump on. But now I'm realizing that a lot of social media is so dull but it pulls us in. Thinking everything on it matters and we have to know about it. I'm learning I don't.  

 We took our cable off and opened the front door. Which I loved cable- but I would mindlessly scroll on it night after night when God was pulling at my heart asking for my time to be His. We have Netflix which we use in the mornings for a cartoon, but other than that the TV stays off and I really don't miss it. And I showed my kids we DO have a huge yard- for playing.

There is beauty in just being. I realized I don't need to check in, post every thing that is happening, let everyone know my business because there is just a sacredness about my own life that I want to keep intact. 

We are falling in love with adventuring. With very limited screen time now- they have formed up so many games, crafts, make shift tree houses. I now can see what I didn't realize we were missing out on. Or just sitting outside feeling a nice breeze does way more for me than anything.

5 minutes just 'checking' my phone can turn into 30 real fast, and with trying to unplug- I can tell now that after I get done it makes me feel like a zombie. Social media is very draining. Yes it can be uplifting and good at times, so I like a couple things and read my close family and friends statuses and I close it down/ I don't allow myself to check anyone's page or anything that doesn't pertain to my focus of living intentionally. 

Our worth is not found on a phone, device or TV. It's found in making a real life with real moments that count- and Jesus made sure I was convicted really bad about this/ so very thankful I was. I needed stripped of the world and put on what my heart was aching for- real purposeful living. 

I made myself learn how to do other things. Like showing my girls gardening, cooking, helping others. Even in the smallest gestures at real life are a million times better than what we find online. 

Yes I mess it up daily and yes I fail. But my girls see I am trying my hardest and that's what matters. I am really trying to live it out with childhood unplugged for my girls. It's hard hard work for me since I decided to break the viscous cycle of being distracted. Jesus came to this earth and did the hard, dirty work of breaking a cycle and I can do it too. For my family and myself.