Be the difference

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I have always struggled. To be happy, to rise above my anxiety, to push through the difficulties of life. I mean really, who hasn’t. Everyone “copes” differently though. From my perspective looking at other people I always wonder how everyone seems to do it so flawlessly when I am falling apart. I am sure this is farthest from the truth though. I am sure that others are completely falling apart on the inside even when they seem so well put together on the outside. I am also sure there is someone looking at me thinking I am strong and have my shit all together.

I don’t though. This point and place in my life has me feeling like I am constantly trying to keep my head above the waves that relentlessly pushes in over and over again. My heart is a constant dull ache and I have never felt more alone. I tell myself daily that I can do this. I am stronger then this. When in reality I am lost. How would life look if we were all more honest about how we feel? Would we be there for each other more? Would we check in on each other more? Truthfully I don’t know if speaking it out loud would help. In our society and society’s standards I think it would push people away. We don’t know how to help others that aren’t “Okay”. Think about it.

You ask your co-worker ” How are you today?”

They respond, ” Honestly, not great.”

How do you respond. How do you handle this? In my own reality most people ignore that you didn’t give them a positive answer in the first place or they respond with a half concerned, “It will get better.” “Keep your chin up.” or ” This to shall pass.”

These to me all undermine that the person could really be going through something and need  someone to really confide in. We live in a society with staggering suicide rates, the annual age adjusted suicide rate is 13.26 per 100,000 individuals per year in the U.S. it is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 24! How are we okay with that and how do we change this?

First, I think we need to stop telling people to get over it and show them we actually care. You may not see it but what they are going through could really be hard for them.

Just because you may not understand their situation doesn’t make it any less real for them. Everyone copes and deals with things differently. It is real, and hard and painful for them. You may not have to understand it, but you can be there for them and be supportive.

 

If each one of us took a moment to be kind when we are in a hurry instead of rushing through life you never know who you could touch and make a difference for them. I don’t say all this to say I don’t have people here for me. I do and they are wonderful and I love them so much for their support and love. I say this because not everyone has that same support system. I say this because maybe just maybe we all as a whole can stop and try and see what someone else is going through. View it from their perspective so we can be there for them more in a way that will make a difference in their life.

 

Maybe, just maybe we could make a difference in someone’s life who really needs it. Lift up those who are drowning and be a light for those who feel like they are in constant darkness. Sometimes all it takes is just giving a smile, a hug or listening when no one else does. Those tiny acts of kindness could make a big change for someone.

 

Today I Will

 

img_9467I have spent the past few months wondering. Why? What did I do? How do I fix this? Where did I go wrong? Who am I? What do I do now? The thing is I could dwell on these questions for the rest of my life. And I would get absolutely no where. Today I choose not to question. I choose happiness and promises of a new day. I choose to put self doubt to the side.

Today I choose Psalms 139:14

“I Praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works: my soul knows it very well.”

 

So today I arose to your word and my devotion.

I choose to meditate and pray instead of worry.

I worked out and set my steps in your word and promises.

I fed myself a healthy meal.

I watched the sunrise in your promise for a new day.

 

I will set my sights on you. I will trust the process and allow the pain, hurt and healing that will come with it. Today I will to forgive. Today I will lean on you when I feel weak. I know I make mistakes and fall short. But today I choose to lean on your promise, Lord.

 

Thank you for your blessings even when they are hard to see.

Today I will push forward.

 

Light and Love,

Ashley

 

You can divorce with Grace

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“I’m goin’ through the Big D and don’t mean Dallas.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were as catchy as this 1990’s Country Song? Well, let me tell you it’s not. I am sure that if you have been through this you will also agree. I am struggling in so many different ways that I didn’t even know were possible. The hurt, pain, guilt, failures… absolutely every single one from my entire life are going through my mind. Not just what pertains to my divorce process. ALL OF IT. Where I first went wrong in life. What made me the way I am. I should have done this differently when I was 13 with that one “boyfriend”.

Isn’t it crazy how we use our minds against ourselves? It’s insane to me the stuff that has come back to me and that I am having to sort through on top of everything else. But, in away it is also freeing. I am working through things I never did. I am recognizing what truly means the most to me, who I am and what I need out of this crazy life.

“I never got married thinking it would ever end.” Something I also keep going back to and I am sure anyone who has went through divorce has said that in some form or another. I mean who wants to see what use to be the love of their life come to an end. To have that story end and not end Happily Ever After? Y’all life isn’t a fairy tale. It’s so damn hard. We go through so many hurts, trials, painful situations and the thing is everyone handles them so differently. I think that is where the difference begins.

In how we handle the situations we are given. If we pull closer to the ones we love the most in those times or if we push them away. It’s always a slow process. The distance grows between you and before you know it your are in different mindsets, places of life and become complete strangers. What I am learning in this process isn’t how we got here but how to handle it all now.

After all I could always sort through the past, the what ifs and I should have done this. The past is the past though. His faults and my faults no longer need to be brought up and thrown in the others face. Now it’s how we handle the moment. Showing our children that even in hard times you should always treat other people with love and respect.

I want to greet each and everyday with Grace. Grace for myself, Grace for my children’s father, Grace for the pain I feel and will continue to have to work through. So from this point on I will remind myself.

I am enough.

I am worthy.

I deserve to get back just as much as I give.

I am not broken.

I do not need to keep apologizing.

I will forgive myself.

My boys are my reason for life and I am and will always put them first. I want them to grow up knowing how to treat people, how to deal with life’s hiccups and that they deserve nothing but the best. They will never be used as leverage. They are the center of their fathers and my life.

If you too find yourself in a similar situation then remember to approach it with grace, love and kindness. After all we should always treat others that way no matter what the situation.

If this is you then my heart and love are with you. I know how it feels. We will build ourselves back up together. One brick at a time. Never forget to…

“Always trust that still small voice in your head that says this is my limit.” -Dr. Zoe Shaw Sometimes that voice knows better then our heart.

 

Love and Light,

Ashley

Making it through the unknown.

Life has so many unknown possibilities. So many different choice we can take and directions we can go. We can wake one day and our entire world can be turned upside down. What we thought was, no longer is. What we dreamed to be is quickly brought to a halt. The thing is somethings are out of our control. Somethings are consequences of our actions and somethings; well those things God brings to be or not to be. I don’t want to get all philosophical with this post, but I do want to share a little of what I am going through.

I am going through a phase of the unknown. A lot is “Up in the air.” There is nothing that I can truly do aside from leave it in someone more powerful than myself hands.

How I am getting through each day. How I am coping with the change and process. That I do have control over.

Here are some things you can also try to use if you to are going through a phase in your life of uncertainty.

  1. Organize and clean your entire house. Leave no pillow unturned and no closet corner ignored. This has been so therapeutic for me. Plus I have purged or donated so many things we don’t use in the process.
  2. Find other ways to use things in your home. I wanted to get my paints back out and start painting. I didn’t have a table or anything that would work for the small area I have so I used the benches from my dining table. I have a lot of random chairs (I have a problem with pillows and chairs), so those chairs are now around my table!
  3. Pick back up hobbies you haven’t done in a longtime or start a new hobby! I got my paints out again. I have been filling spare time with working out, writing, journaling, painting and digging into my bible. Really anything that keeps my mind busy and focusing on the positive.
  4. Surround yourself with those who mean the most to you! My boys are my light and my world. When I am with them they are my main focus and we have so much fun!! Family and true friends are always going to be there when you need them. Take them up on their offer to get dinner, coffee or just sit and talk. It is so good for your soul.
  5. Something else I am super excited about is that I love to read and have some like minded gals that do too, so we are going to start a Book Club. I hope this becomes a safe and fun place for us all to hangout, read and get in much need girl time in the middle of our crazy busy life’s.
  6. I have also decided to reach out to someone to talk to. Someone who doesn’t know me but from a professional stand point and can give me the guidance to get through my current situation in a healthy way. A way so that I can heal and not use substances, the wrong people or fall back into old patterns.

 

Y’all life can be so damn hard. I know we are all out here just trying to do our best and make it through things “One Day at a Time.” I know right now I am thanking sweet baby Jesus on the daily for my Dry Shampoo, Messy bun, Concealer and Coffee! Maybe channeling some of your troubles or energy into an outlet similar to some of these will help you. The main thing to remember is we will make it through this.

We are strong Woman, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters. Friends. With a little support when we need it we will get through whatever phase of life you are currently in. Just know when to ask when you need help. That’s what we are all here for.

 

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” – Maya Angelou

 

Love and Light,

Ashley

Fear < Dreams

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You know those daunting dreams that we fabricate at a young age when we are full of spunk, energy and a zest for life. The ones we usually let slide to the sideline when real life gets in the way and adult responsibilities take over.

Those dreams right there are what I finally decided I was going to chase. I think as we get older sometimes we being to settle and think those dreams are too far gone. We get married, have kids, buy the house… (Not always in that order) and we put those dreams on the sidelines so we can just make it through in this busy crazy life. Don’t worry I am not pointing fingers at anyone but myself!

I am first and always will be a Momma to my 3 very active and busy boys! They keep me going from before the sun comes up until well after it goes down. I also work full-time in long term healthcare. I have a side hustle to help bring in extra money here and there making invitations. I also, recently decided to go after one of my biggest dreams! I have always had a deep love for reading and writing. I do it for fun or just to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

Well,  I decided that I should give it a go and try my hand at one of my dreams. I pushed my fear of rejection aside and just went for it. I wrote an article and sent it in to one of my favorite websites! Being a freelance writer is something I have always only dreamed of. That and writing a book. The book will come with time and I am sure 1,150 re-edits, but I will get it there one day if I have to self publish and sell them on the streets for $1.00 each just to get all the copies out of my house.

I waited and waited for what seemed like a small lifetime but I will never forget the day I got an email back about my submission. They liked it. They wanted to set up a time to call and talk to me about possible writing for them regularly.

“Wait, you liked it?” No critiques or Buts.

Nope. They just wanted me to write more!

I squealed out loud as I read that message and I have felt a huge weight lift off me ever since. It’s not a paying gig, it’s not the biggest site out there, but their message is something I believe in and love and I couldn’t be happier to be a contributor for their site. Seriously y ‘all, on cloud nine feeling so blessed! I am so thankful I didn’t let my fear of being denied keep me from submitting that article.

When we let fear get in our way we miss out on what God really has in store for us. We miss all the blessing he has meant for us because we get in our own heads and say “I can’t do that.” If you never try then you will never know. It won’t always be easy and sometimes you will have to fight through opposition. That is the crazy thing about dreams though. They are worth the fight and no one can fight for your dreams but you! So Fight! Dream Big, Work hard and Make your biggest dreams come true. Put in the hard work and see what comes from it. I can tell you this. The happiness alone that comes from chasing your dreams make it worth it!

If you want to see what is going on at The Grit and Grace project, then go check out my article there and I have more launching this month!

Dream Big,

Ashley

A letter to my first born son

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7/8/2018

Clayton,

First of all, I hope you had a wonderful birthday today! We tried to make it special but also simple and sweet. An adventure will await us soon. It still seems absolutely impossible that you are now SEVEN! It is like we took a few nights sleep and you grew up before my eyes. You know I have often heard that there is just something special between a mama and her first born. Well baby boy that is so true. Let mama explain. See you are the very first one who made me a mom. You came into this world clinging to me and changed my life forever. In such a better way! You trusted me and our bond has always been unbreakable. Momma could always make it better. I won’t lie this still amazes me. I had NO idea what I was doing when we first laid eyes on each other. Heck, some days I still don’t. The great thing though is that we get to learn together. You taught me how to unconditionally love someone and man do you show me Grace Every. Single. Day. Clayton Eli, you are the kindest person I know. Your uncanny ability to love and except everyone makes my heart nearly explode. (In the best way possible) You are already turning into such an amazing little man. You are a care giver, love, gentle, responsible and always willing to help me out with anything I am doing. The way you care for your brothers now is building the strongest bond that will always hold strong between y’all. If there are just a few things I want to remind you today on your birthday is.

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One, Never ever forget how much I love you and how special you are to me. Our bond and connection mean the world to me. The world that you and your brothers create is my everything and our bond sweet boy; OUR BOND is what started this adventure we are on.

Second,  Never let anyone let you believe anything but how wonderful you are. I don’t know a single person in this big huge world that is kinder than you my Gentle Giant and I hope you know God gave you that special gift for a reason so always remember to use it.

Lastly, Always remember to give yourself the same Grace that you show others. On bad days, on days you make bad choices (I WILL FIND OUT ABOUT EVERYTHING, so never lie to me) and on days that you don’t particular like yourself. We all have those days, they pass! Give yourself grace though baby boy because you deserve ever ounce of that!!

I still can’t look at your baby pictures without crying and each year when I go through all of the ones I have I will cry as the years go by. Heck, I am sobbing while I write this. Because no your not my “favorite” your brothers and you all have things that make you all my favorite, but you are different. What we have is different. You were the first to call me momma, hold my finger with all five of yours, nurse endless nights while I just stared at you. You help build me, help me grow and began molding me into the mom I am today before your brothers where ever a thought. Thank you for always being my biggest fan and you will  be my Superhero!

I love you to our Moon and Back with a Hug around the neck.

Happy Birthday Big Man

Love your momma

 

My top 8 things to do for “Me Time”

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Let me just start by saying , I love my kids and my husband with all my heart. They are literally my whole world and my entire being, but sometimes I just want to be alone. I don’t want to be summoned 100 times in 2 minutes. I need to forget about all my responsibilities and I need a minimum of 30 minutes (more is a HUGE bonus) to just NOT be touched!

The main thing we as mama’s need to get over is feeling guilty when we want, need or take time to ourselves. Yes, we decided to have kids (or in some peoples case God gifted us with a wonderful Surprise.) Yes, I know I am blessed beyond measure. Yes, I know these moments are fleeting and I will miss the crazy yelling, fighting and chaos. I get it. I promise I do. Most of the time I love these moments and find the beauty of them. Other times I am just human and I lose my shit. I cry and even sob. These moments are when I know I need to take sometime for me and get the heck away from the house. By myself where no one calls me MOOOooooM!

 

I am thankful my husband loves me at my breaking points and recognizes when I need to get away. I am forever grateful for that. In return he gets to go fishing “almost” anytime he wants and I try to be as understanding even on my worse days. However, I am realistic and I know not everyone has the same kind of arrangements. I get it that we are all in different walks of life, work different schedules, are single moms, have husbands who work out of town.

Call in the forces sister! Find some amazing babysitters, (it’s worth the money to have some sanity), give grandma or whatever she is called now a days a call, call a sibling, best friend, neighbor, Sunday school friend. Who ever it is CALL THEM! Tell them it’s life or death. Make a schedule with your best friend and watch her kids for a day and then she can do the same for you. Just make it happen. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

Here are some of my favorite things to do when I get time to indulge in myself. Guys sometimes all that means is 30 minutes, or a day, or a weekend! Take what you can get and make the best of it.

  1. Walk through a bookstore. I love finding used bookstores and just rummaging through the shelves. I am one of those quirky weird people who love the smell of books. ❤
  2. Find a coffee shop, ask the Barista to make a pretty latte, sit in silence and JUST BREATHE. AHHhhhhhhh
  3. Pack your favorite blanket (mine is an old quilt that I actually keep in my car), go to your favorite park, sit under a tree and read! Fresh air, Sunshine and a book does wonders for the soul.
  4. Find a yoga class and go to that shit as much as possible. I mean that in the most Zen way possible. Do it and then come back and thank me and tell me how wonderful it was!
  5. Look into your local art society and see when they have open art nights. Even if art isn’t “your thing” sometimes walking and looking at others peoples art in galleries can give you a new perspective. If you are like me and art is your thing. You can spend 20 minutes staring at a piece of work that speaks to you as you examine every feeling you may be feeling. (Told you I quirky, but it’s totally endearing I promise)
  6. RUN! Sweat. Walk Fast whatever works for you and your body. Get your heartrate up, burn those endorphins and take an amazzzing shower afterward.
  7. Walk through thrift stores. I love going and rummaging through other peoples junk and finding little treasures. It’s also quiet and can be very relaxing.
  8. Get in your car, drive to your closet “drive in”, get a soda or milkshake, and call your best friend, your momma, your sister or cousin. Call your person and vent. Then let them vent. Just getting away and having someone to talk to can leave you refreshed and ready to go back home and take on the world.

If you don’t take care of yourself then you won’t ever be able to be fully at your best for your husband and kids. Don’t ever let yourself feel guilty for doing things for you. We spend all of our time taking care of others. At home, at work, at school, where you volunteer and ALL of those things are wonderful. But just think of how much better they will be when you are fully charged and feeling your very best!

happy momma

Light and Love,

Ashley