I thought it was clever...


There's a flu-shot thing going on in town today where they're giving them out like candy on Halloween.
Except it's Halloween Eve and no one's quite as excited about them as they would be candy.
So my sister and nephew get their flu shots.
And my parents get their flu shots.
And this afternoon Ty and I will get our flu shots.
Just the regular flu shot.
Because no matter what I read or am told my gut is still screaming bloody murder against the H1N1 vaccine.
And I can't ignore my gut.
I just can't.
So we'll get the regular flu vaccine and take extra Vitamin C & D supplements and if it appears either of us comes down with anything that resembles the flu, we'll go to the doctor instead of trying to self-medicate or self-diagnose.
I'm not knocking the vaccine and I'm not typically an anti-vaccine type of gal, but I feel safer leaving it to chance and boosting our immune system this time.
But anyway, so my family is doing the whole flu-shot thing today.
And my mom texts me telling me, "We've been shot!"
My response, "I get your jewelery!"
Good thing she knows I love her!
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Have I mentioned


That I love my life?
Cause I do.
Even when baby boy trips over a basketball in the church gym and comes crying to Mama with a carpet burn below his eye.
Because he came to Mama to make it better.
He came to Mama to love him and fix the problems of his precious little world.

Or when Mystery Man is quieter than normal because he's distracted by his shows or is on the phone with his friend (that I'll meet tomorrow).
Because when it comes down to time to say goodnight, everything else takes a back burner so he can call me and hear my voice and tell me goodnight and sweet dreams before I close my eyes to go to sleep.
Because there's something about hearing each other's voice before we go to sleep, no matter how briefly it may be.

Even when it's 8:30 at night before I ever get to walk in my door and take my shoes off. The shoes that have been killing my feet all day long.
Because I spent my day at work, earning the money that I need for my little, unbroken family.
Because after work, I went and picked up a kid and brought him to church.
Because after church I went to my parents house and let Ty try on his Optimus Prime Costume.
Because my mom and I went to Walmart together to get Halloween candy and exercise shorts and claimed a few moments of 'us time'.
Because I have a close family that I love and that loves me and because we enjoy every minute we spend together because we've learned the hard way that those opportunities pass too soon.

I love my life.

And each day I go to bed thinking that I could not be any happier than I was today only to wake up and find out I was wrong.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

More than Meets the Eye


We carved pumpkins last night.

Me.

Ty.

And Mystery Man.

Actually, Mystery Man did all the hard work.

And did a wonderful job of it, too!

Soooooo, I have pictures to share.

But don't get your hopes up about seeing Mystery Man just yet.

I think I'll let the suspense build a little while longer.

{{wink}}


Ty was so excited!!


Scooping out the pumpkin guts!








Mystery Man doing his master pumpkin carving!


How cool is THIS!!!






I love this boy.

Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

it's all spilling over


Soooo. :)

The date was wonderful.

Mystery Man is wonderful!

Everything about him is.

I realize I haven't done a girly, gushy blog about him as I've been keeping you all mostly in the dark for the time being. My apologies for that, but I want to enjoy how simple and sweet and great things are between us before we open ourselves up to the whole world.

And I'm still feeling around to see how he feels about having things disclosed for all the world to see. (Yes, he reads my blog and while it makes me smile, it makes me a teensy bit nervous, too, but in a good way)

But I'm a girl and he'll hopefully forgive me for airing some of his many good qualities.

Like the way he looks at me.

And the way he smiles at me.

And the way he opens the door for me.

Or the way he kisses my temple when we're watching a movie on the couch.

I'm smitten.

And I'm smiley.

And I'm happy.

So very happy.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Ooey gooey goodness


Ty's room was a mess yesterday.

I'm talking a disaster area.

I almost had to come to work and see if I could borrow some yellow police line and just call it a loss.

But instead, like any Mean Mama, I told him to get his cute little tushie in there and clean his mess up.

"And don't throw it in the closet this time because I will come in here and dig it out and I will spank you for doing it after I've told you not to."

I'm hardcore like that.

{wink}

So I go back to the living room and continue tagging 200 of 353 pictures on Facebook only for Facebook to wreck havoc on said tags and give me a million-and-one script errors.

{sarcasm}Love you, too, Facebook!{/sarcasm}

Anyway, about ten minutes later I call in to Ty and tell him Nana & PaPaw will be at the house in a few minutes.

He comes into the living room and stands beside me.

"I didn't clean my room, Mama. I was just sitting in there."

At this point I gave him the Mama look while I process what I'm going to say to him and what punishment he should get for not obeying.

Again.

He interrupts my train of thought by saying, "I broke your heart. I just tore it into a million pieces."

He steps closer to me and puts his hand on my leg, continuing, "I'm sorry I didn't obey you Mama, but I'm going to go clean it super-fast and I'll obey you. Just don't cry because it would make me cry if you cried."

He then hugs me and touches my face (I love how he tries to console me the same way I console him!) and tells me, "I'll go clean it super fast! Just don't cry, Mama!"

He then takes off into his room and starts putting things away properly in the minute or two before Nana and Papaw shows up.

And I gushed to Mystery Man about how cute and sweet it was.

And he laughed and told me my boy knows just how to work his Mama!
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Shhhh....It's a secret.


Want to know a secret?

Yes?

You can't tell anyone.

Promise?

{raises pinky}

Pinky promise?

Okay.....

{looks both ways}

I have a date Friday.

But it's our little secret.

{wink}
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

The Tale of the Dress


Yes, my lovelies.....my previous wedding post(s) left out some details.

Details I saved to give it the attention it deserved.

About my dress.

This dress.

It's a convertible dress from Victoria's Secret.

And I love it.

At least in the picture, I do.

And I loved it on me, too.

But I didn't love the work that it requires to keep it on me!!

It's basically a tube dress with two super-long sashes sewn to the top that you can wrap, twist, or style into a variety of ways.

Maybe it would have been less complicated if I'd actually taken the time to make sure it was on me securely and appropriately from the get-go. But I didn't have that time.

So I threw it on, wrapped it around into a cute little one-shoulder style and headed off to take pictures.

And during the picture taking it came loose.

And then when we got in the car, it came loose again.

And during the ceremony it was attempting to come loose.

So after the ceremony I headed to the bathroom and took Lindsey with me to assist.

So in we go.

And I unwrap the dress and am trying to figure out which sash should have gone first, because clearly I didn't have the right one done the last time I did it.

So Lindsey is holding my hair for me when she says "What's dripping on my foot?"

"Huh?" I ask her.

"Something's dripping on my foot," she holds up the end of one of the sashes...which is wet, "I think your sash got in the toilet...."

I looked in silence at the obviously wet and obviously dripping sash before breaking into a laugh along with Lindsey.

So we go to grabbing paper towels and dry off the sash as best as we can because clearly stripping out of the dress and walking around in my skivvies isn't an option at this point.

After drying it as well as I could, I went back to wrapping and tucking the dress and hoping it'd stay.
And of course, after messing with a dress in toilet water we both felt the need to wash our hands.

Wait, what's that you say?

No soap?

Lovely!!

We walked out of the bathroom to find Mack and Jason waiting on us with curious looks.

Was it the length of the time we spent together in the single-occupant bathroom or the volume of laughter that came from it during that time?

So we had to tell the story. And they laughed and we laughed.

And we went to our cars.

And the dress came undone again.

And again.

And again.

And that's just between the cathedral and the reception site.

So I'm driving down the road while fixing my dress and I realize that the truck behind me that was riding my butt has decided to keep a much greater distance between me and him after all the gas-brake-gas-brake action my car was getting.

Hehehe. And they say smart men are far and few between....

{No women driver jokes here, pleasekthanks}

We get to the reception and....again...I have to secure the straps of my dress at least well enough to get inside and to the bathroom where I unwrap the whole blasted thing and start all over.

I believe it was at this time that I abandoned the one-shoulder effect and just settled on it crossed over in front and back.

Which worked for a while.

Until I sat down.

So I went and fixed it again.

And went out to the dance-floor to take some pictures.

And felt something brushing the back of my legs and realized that both sashes had come undone again.

So back to the bathroom.

I bet some folks thought I had some serious issues going on if anyone not in the know ever clued in to how many trips I was making to the bathroom.

So, at some point, I went back to the one-shoulder effect and all but put a ratchet on those straps so that they had no choice but to stay in place.

I just had to sacrifice all ability to breathe for the duration of the rest of the reception.
The one and only time that I went to the bathroom for normal bathroom stuff...well, wouldn you know it couldn't be disaster-free! I do my thing and after washing my hands, I lean forward in the mirror to check my teeth. And as soon as I lean forward against the counter I feel this cold, wet feeling spreading across the front of my thighs and yeah....you know.

The counter was soaking wet.

And so was the front of my dress.

Right at the crotch.

Lovely.

So I hiked it up a little bit, using the ruching in my favor to cover the wet-stain on my dress long enough to walk back to the table and put on my coat. Which was long enough to cover the wet spot and warm enough to make for the sudden chill I was feeling in my nether-regions.

So, there's my story.
A great dress that created a great mess!
Maybe it's no coincidence I forgot it in Louisiana!
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Therapy


I know I've been M.I.A. over the past few days.

I was off on an adventure!

One of those therapeutic adventures that automatically qualify for one of the 'best weekend of my life' awards.

I went to LA.

Louisiana. Not Los Angeles.

I saw a girl I'd never met get married to a guy I'd never met and spent the entire time laughing and smiling and having the time of my life with more people I'd never met.

And I loved them all!!

For a few years I've had an online presence at a site where I've come to be great friends with several girls and a couple of guys. We've shared our joys and our heartaches and our accomplishments and our fears with each other for years and in that process have become better friends online than many friends I have in real life.

For a few years I've loved each and ever single one of these people because they are my people. They get me. They love me. They support me. They're just another form of family that I am so blessed to have.

Only I'd never met them. I'd never hugged their necks or kissed their cheeks or heard their voices in most cases.

But this weekend, I met two girls who have been in that group. And I hugged their necks and cherished their smiles and did my best to memorize their faces and laughter.

Because there was a lot of laughter.

And I met more girls from that same site that I had never met before. We all knew each other's pen names from having seen it here or there, but none of us had read or kept up with each other.

In one weekend they went from a mere blip on my radar to automatic admission in my "Close of the Close" group.

It was an amazing weekend all the way through!!

So sit back and relax, you know how long-winded my stories can be!

How about we start where we left off last week. Let's see, Tuesday was the boobie-sandwich post. (I'm totally not doing that, by the way....though I only garnered 2 comments on that post, I'm going with the majority vote!!)
Before Tuesday's post was a therapeutic conversation with Mystery Man. Wow....that seems so long ago now. I guess when you're used to only seeing someone every week or two and you have a week where you get to see him the majority of the days in one week it throws your time perception off.
So...speaking of Mystery Man...
::grins::
He came to town Thursday so he could see me before we left.
Here's where your jaws will drop.
I.cooked.supper.
Take a moment....compose yourself.
Big, right?
I cooked supper.
AND I fed it to him!!
Monumental, I tell ya!
So we spent the evening together and I got a quick fix before I'd leave for my trip the following morning. So sweet of him to come see me.
{insert warm fuzzy feelings here}
Leave me alone, I'm a girl. I'm allowed to be all silly and girly once-in-a-while. ::wink::
On Friday morning, I got up and packed all of Ty's stuff and finish packing up mine and take Ty to school where I explain to him that I won't see him till Sunday.
"Why?"
'Because Miss Jess is getting married and I'm going to see her!'
"Married?"
'Yes, sir!'
"What's married?"
'Well....when a boy and a girl really, really love each other they go to a church and they tell each other and God and everyone how much they love each other and God marries them and they can live together and be together forever!'
(leave me alone, I wasn't prepared to answer it! haha!)
"I think you need to get married, Mama"
'Oh really?'

"Yes, you can marry {Mystery Man} and he can live with us and he can sleep on one pillow and you can sleep on the other, but you have to share."
{{insert long pause here where I'm trying to figure out where to go with this conversation}}
I totally didn't see that coming when I brought up that he'd be spending the weekend with Nana & Papaw....crazy kids!

From the school I dropped Ty's stuff off at my parents house and headed down Arkansas State Highway 8 on my way to Houma, Lousiana.
It was an easy and beautiful trip but my GPS deceived me into thinking I'd make it there an hour before I actually did.
But the timing worked out for the best anyway.
I pulled into Jess's with a grin on my face and walked in the door to a half a dozen stranger's faces only to see Jess run down the hall to me and we threw our arms around each other and hugged and everything in the world was right from that moment on.
All the girls were in the process of getting ready to go to the rehearsal, so I brought my stuff in and changed while going through introductions with girls I would soon come to love and realize were so amazing and wonderful.
I just knew that there was no way I'd remember their names. No way. I'm terrible with names.
But these girls are completely unforgettable!!
We headed to the rehearsal at a different church than where the wedding would take place. There was a wedding going on that night at the cathedral Jess would be getting married at, so the rehearsal was scheduled at a different location.
Not all the groomsmen got the memo though, they showed up at the wedding at the other cathedral instead!
Miss Alesi (the groom's little girl) took her flower girl duties quite seriously and made her Ring Bearer escort her up and down and up and down and up and down the aisle while she perfected it.

Cutest.thing.ever.
No, scratch that. Cutest thing ever was what she did after the ceremony. I'll get to that later.
So we go through the rehearsal and then head to the rehearsal dinner where Jess makes us all cry with her gift to her parents and especially her gift to Alesi.
I never even felt my tears well in my eyes, I just had tears streaming down my face with absolutely no warning at all.
Very, very touching.
After the rehearsal dinner we went across the road to a bar for just a little bit before going back to Jess's for lots and lots of girl talk before bed.
The next day was the big day!
Somehow Jess rolled herself out of bed at 5:45. I thought I was only blinking my eyes, but they didn't open again until right at 7.
My bad!
So I jumped up and threw on my jeans and a shirt and scarf and curled my hair and fixed my makeup, thinking I'd come back later to do it better for the wedding.
Later never came.
But that's beside the point.
We rolled out of the house and down the road to the beauty shop for the girls to lay down a small fortune on getting their hairs did and their faces painted. I'm so spoiled to small-town prices that I almost choked when I heard the price of an updo! Holy wow! I'm going into hair styling!
Nah, nevermind....I'm not that patient.
So, we're on our way to the beauty shop with our beautiful bride behind the wheel!!

We get to the beauty shop and pull out a delicious breakfast feast of Chick-Fil-A yummies.
And coffee.
The coffee was very crucial to me.
I love coffee.
And I needed coffee.
So, a million-and-one pictures into the hair styling and makeup applying, Miss Jess plants her happy little soon-to-be-married butt in the chair and great things begin to happen.

Except here.

Because here is where she's processing "OMG, thephotographerhadaflatandwon'tbeabletotakepicturesofmegettingreadyorputtingmydresson!"
But here is where Super Ash made her debut.

Because Jess said "Ashley, will you take pictures for me?"
And Ashley said "Psht! You have to ask?!"
So we hauled it back to Jess's house and I resisted the urge to run in the door shedding clothes because not only did I have pictures to take of my leading lady.....I didn't want to actually live this dream I had where I was walking around before Jess's wedding with no pants on and no clue where my dress was.
So I threw my dress on and grabbed my camera and dashed off to battle evil videographers while trying to capture how absolutely STUNNING my beautiful Jess was on this oh-so-AMAZING day!

I love her face in this picture and the look on it, it's like she's calmly thinking "This is real. This is it. It's finally happening."
And I love this picture. I love how her mom is looking at her as she works with her hair and veil.

We jumped into the cars and dashed off to the church only ten minutes before go-time!
Needless to say, we were booking it!!
I looked down at my speedometer to see we were going 65 and moments after commenting on our speed we witnessed a crash just as the limos in front of my vehicle passed them. Three cars were involved and the van, which got the worst hit of them all, came into our lane in front of us.
It was one of those moments where everything slows down.
I automatically hit my brakes while trying not to lock them up or get rear-ended myself. But all I could think was 'This thing's either going to hit us head-on or it's going to hit my side of the car, but either way we're hit and we're going to miss the wedding!'
But Grace intervened as He always does and the van was able to correct back into its own lane.
Back to the wedding story.
Where were we?
Oh, that's right......arriving at the church.

{{insert bridal march here}}

This wedding easily qualifies as one of the most beautiful weddings, EVAH!!
Jess was radiant and glowing and the cathedral was amazing and literally everything added to the beauty and the joy of the day.
One of my favorite touches for the day was something completely unplanned.
This is how I got to watch the ceremony.

You may think this means nothing to you.....but if I zoom out just a bit further some of you might get it.....

Because seeing this wedding between the smiles and bodies of these two people added a whole other level of emotion and sentiment and joy to the occasion for me.
Because Mackenzie and Jason (above) have a special story.
Because Mack and I traveled very similar roads only a short time apart from each other.
Because Mack and Jason give me hope and inspired me to never settle for less than everything I ever wanted.
And because through their shoulders I got to watch Jess and Joey commit to forever. Jess has inspired me because of how wholly she accepted and loved a child that was not, biologically, hers. She gave me hope that I will find a man so perfect for me that he would love my child as much as Jess loves her little girl.
So for those two inspirations to be pieced together like that....it was monumental and a very powerful moment for me.
Moments as beautiful as that are rare, I will always cherish that one.
And before I knew it....our Miss was a Mrs.

And a beautiful one, at that!
This is where the cutest.thing.ever moment with Alesi came into play.
As Jess and Joey were walking, arm-in-arm, down the aisle and everyone is looking at and watching them we all hear the rapid clicking of little dress shoes on the tile floors as Alesi runs full blast to catch up and throws her arms around Jess and Joey.
It was all I could do not to cry as Joey picked her up and the three of them walked out of the cathedral as a family.

Finally.

Officially.
We followed Mackenzie and Jason from the wedding to the reception and resisted the urge to run red lights like some people before us did.
*ahem*
Sorry, excuse me. I had a tickle in my throat.
{{wink}}
We got to the reception where Jess and Joey shared their first dance and we all sat down and began snapping picture after picture after picture!





Everyone danced and had a blast!
And when it was all said and done, my feet were killing me, my dress had driven me absolutely batty (don't ask!) and my face and abs hurt so bad from all the laughing and smiling.
Best.weekend.ever.
What a wonderful way to start a marriage and what a wonderful weekend to meet all these wonderful and amazing women that I love with all of my heart!
But the goodness of the weekend didn't end there.

After finally coming home and emptying my bags and just crashing into my couch for a while my doorbell rang.

And I opened the door and he smiled.

The perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

To squish or not to squish


Soooo, I've been staring at a reminder for a while now to schedule an annual examination for September.

But September came and went and I have yet to do it.

I just don't look forward to it so it's not at the top of my list.

I made the call today though and wonder if I might have been a little premature in doing it.

One of the reasons I've put it off is because I've been debating on whether I want to have my boobs squished this year.

I've never had a mammogram, nor do I particularly want one. Not sure if I even have enough to squish, but that's beside the point.

It's Breast Cancer Awareness month and seeing the pink ribbon on my blog everyday just makes me wonder if it would be a good idea to suck it up and as Nike says, Just Do It. Or if I should just stick with the awkward breast examination I'll get during my checkup.

Throw on top of that that this week is National Feel Your Boobies week.

I'm twenty-seven. Most women never started getting examinations until they were forty, and now many women have moved it up to their thirtieth birthday, with some things there's no such thing as too early.

So, I'm trying to make this decision and would love any input suggestions or personal opinions any of you have to share.


Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

It's time that I accept...


Funny how life gives you cues through the lives and words of others.

Funny how I can have two topics on my heart on this one day and on that same exact day two other individuals can either blog on or mention those topics in a way that bring one of my favorite words to mind.

Kismet.

I've used it a lot lately.

Fate works GOD works in strange, beautiful, and wonderful ways.

I had a conversation with Mystery Man last night. It was one of those painful yet healing and wonderful conversations.

Painful only because it meant dragging out my baggage and opening it up and hoping and praying that he wouldn't let decisions of my past cast a pall on the person he knows me as today.

Healing and wonderful because he is man enough to see that everything in my past only served to make me who I am today. It's nothing to hold against me, it's nothing to begrudge me for, it's nothing to condemn me by. It's simply a part of my past.

And it's left in the past.

Where it belongs.

And that feels so good.

And it brings a song to mind.

You're shocked, I know. Me and my music, right? It runs in the family (my sister has started a blog, by the way, you can check her out here)

But it brought to mind a song I've always measured these conversations up against. I know I shouldn't judge, especially when asking someone not to judge me...but you can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to cling to and use against you or what they choose to let go of.

An admirable man wrote the words below, because they understood that our past does not rule us, our past only serves to lead and guide us.


"Every hand we hold, every bridge we burn
Every single story told is another lesson learned
So if I should glance in your rear-view mirror
At every failed romance that brought you here
Honey, I can't be hurt by what I see
They were teaching you how to love me"
{Blaine Larsen | Teaching You How To Love Me}

And an admirable man said similar words to me last night. Our pasts have made us who we are. Our pasts have brought us to this point and this place.

No regrets. Just lessons learned.

That's been my mantra for years.

No regrets.

Because everything I ever did was a choice. Every word I ever spoke was a decision I made.

And I might have come to realize the lack-of-wisdom in some of those words or actions or in-actions, but there's no changing them and there's no reversing how they altered the path my life has taken.

Why would I want to when I'm in such a beautiful place?

But the fact remains...there is little that is more difficult than to step up and own up to everything you've ever done or allowed to be done. There is little more heartbreaking than to confess to your own failures and misgivings.

But, likewise, there's little better than opening up all that old baggage and emptying it out; to take every thing you've hidden; to wipe away the filth and the guilt and the shame and be free of it. And there's little better than being accepted as you are, faults and all.

I am who I am now because of the person I was.

To change the bad in my past would mean to sacrifice the good in my present. If he can accept me for me, why can't I?

I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday. I am the person I am because I've let people take advantage of me, I've made bad choices, I've used words for less than good, I've accepted less than I deserve, and I've ignored my conscience when it was despicable to do so. I can't change those things. I can't fix any of the damage I've caused myself or others in the past.

I can forgive, both myself and others.

I can learn.

I can move on.


It's time that I accept the bad as well as the good.
The blessings in my failures the way I know I should.
It's time that I accept the low as well as high,
Replace the things I've done with things that I've done right.
It's time that I accept bad choices that I've made
against my better judgment, and give myself a break.
It's time that I accept these things I can't control.
I know I've done my best, It's time that I accept.

{Unknown}
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Happiness is....


Happiness is laughing over anything or nothing.

Happiness is stealing kisses from a sleeping child.

Happiness is learning to ignore the unimportant.

Happiness is embracing the good and the bad.

Happiness is smiling for no reason.

Happiness is in being forgiven.

Happiness is being comfortable in your own skin.

Happiness is knowing God's Love.

Happiness is opening a door for someone.

Happiness is in believing in whatever you choose to believe in with your whole heart.

Happiness is knowing that you are not alone.

Happiness is in never giving up.

Happiness is having enemies, because enemies can only be had by people who take a stand.

Happiness is that quiet moment when you close your eyes and pray, and all you can think of is every thing that you have to be thankful for.

Happiness is a little boy running in circles through the grass.

Happiness is stepping back and watching someone else discover how to imperfectly do what you could have done perfectly.

Happiness is feeling the sunshine on your skin after a rainstorm.

Happiness is carrying a song in your heart.

Happiness is the moment when your soul is liberated after an act of forgiveness.

Happiness is choosing to find joy even when it's harder than normal.

Happiness is a choice.



Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

I Believe


It was a heck of a weekend. It had the potential to be a devastating and disastrous weekend, and it had the potential to be a weekend of wonderful things.

And good triumphed.

Faith prevailed.

Let's start with Saturday.

Ty and I embarked on an adventure Saturday morning. And on the drive there I found myself replaying Brandon Heath's I'm Not Who I Was.

I've loved that song ever since I first heard it because it just hit to the core of me. It's a Christian Song written as a conversation of one person talking to someone from their past who hurt them. Admitting that they've forgiven them and moved past whatever had happened between them.

There were two parts to this song that really struck me that had never stood out before.


"I was thinking maybe I should let you know, I am not the same, but I never did forget your name."

The simple admission, the openly stated fact that I am not who I was once known as was profound and powerful to me. We always try to judge people as if they can never grow or change from the person they once were.

For some people this is a good thing, because on some occasions the person they were is better than they person they are. But most commonly, this is not. Most commonly we grow and we learn and we better ourselves. The person we were isn't us anymore. That was another life. Another lifetime.

Another part of the song that struck me was this powerful statement tied to my faith.


"The thing I find most amazing in Amazing Grace, is the chance to give it out. Maybe that's what Love is all about."


I've sung this phrase time and time again and Saturday I actually paid attention to the words and they filled my eyes with tears. They brought to mind a favorite C.S. Lewis quote.


"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you."


Little did I know....God's timing always amazes me. How he can place things on my heart, how he can remind me of my own mistakes and failures in a way that I will soon need to remember.


I'm not going where you think I'm going with this. There is nothing to forgive. There is nothing to forget. This was just one of those things that I needed in my heart right now.


Let's move on to our adventure, shall we?


Maybe some pictures?


Yes, pictures.


I like to look at pictures.


::grins::



My boy loved him some golf!









And the volcano. He was quite taken with the volcano. Especially when it would shoot fire out of the top.



On the last hole he didn't know what to think when his ball disappeared and didn't come out another hole somewhere! He was so cute searching around to find where it went!



Riding a motorcycle in the arcade.



He gets by with a little help from his friends. :)



And he loved playing air hockey. Or whatever it's called.






And bopping the alligators on the head.



And this is just a picture of a little lizard that I took to show Ty. It was too high up for him to be able to see it without scaring the little feller off.


So there's part of our adventure.


We played mini-golf and rode go-carts. Had I not been driving the go-cart I would have had the cutest pictures of him and his smile and his laughter as we zigged and zagged and zoomed around the track. I just knew the go-carts would have been his favorite. But the volcano and tunnel on the golf course stole the show.


And then we went up a mountain.


This adventure up the mountain was far less tiring, hot, and blood-letting than the last one.


Thank goodness!


After the golf and the go-carts and the mountain it was nap-time for a certain little boy who had worn himself completely out.


After nap-time was supper, after supper was Harry Potter, at least for a little bit until Shrek came up. And then it was time to go home.


And Ty told me about 40 times on the way home, "Mama, we had a good day today, didn't we."


Yes, Baby. We did.


Sunday was a new day, and true to the statement that life can't be all sunshine, the storms blew in on Sunday. Literally and figuratively.


But the good thing about storms...they pass.


Sure, some can be destructive and deadly and for a little bit I feared this one might be, too.


But it wasn't.


It was eye-opening. It revealed things to me that I'm glad to know.


For one, I can trust again.


This is a tremendous statement that brings tears to my eyes. Those of you who know the enormity of my making such a statement might have a similar problem.


I can trust.


For a few months now I keep hearing this voice in my head. This strong, simple voice repeating the same two words over and over again.


"Have faith"


Every time I hear those words resound through my soul I have said a quick prayer and stepped out on faith.


I heard those words again this weekend. When I felt a ache deep inside of me. When what I was told conflicted with everything my gut and my brain were telling me.


When I was put in a position that brought me to my knees only a few short years ago.


"Have faith"And I collected my thoughts, took a deep breath and stepped out on faith. I braced for the worst and instead discovered quite possibly the best.


I can trust again.


I trust.


Finally, the wound has healed and only the faintest of scars is left in its place.

And the scar is more beautiful than I'd have ever believed
.



Sometimes it takes being broken to really appreciate how great it feels to be whole again.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

Be careful little mouth....


Words are powerful.

Written word, spoken word, even the words that we only think that never enter into the world or leave a mark on anyone more than the person whose mind they fluttered through.

Words are perhaps the most powerful thing we have.

Yes, I know the saying, "When deeds speak, words are nothing."

But sometimes there are no actions that can take what's inside a person and make it present to the world around them.

Without words, I could never reach out or touch any of the friends I've made through the Internet or Blogosphere.

Little words can accomplish great wonders.

Or great harm.

Little, seemingly-insignificant words can plant the tiniest of seeds that, one day, could grow into something mighty and inspiring, or powerful and destructive.

Five years ago when qualifying with a firearm my Daddy and I were talking about guns and the respect you must have for them. And then he took the conversation to another place with a casual statement.

He compared the destruction of a gun to the destruction of a word. Used recklessly, they can both destroy, hurt, injure, break, or devastate. Used recklessly, they can both cause damage that can never be reversed.

Just as the bullet leaves the barrel with such force and speed that it could never be captured and placed back into the chamber, so do words.

Just as the bullet pierces, tears, and wounds the intended target, so do words.

But words have a stronger power to do good. Words can be used without injury or death. Words can build up, reach out, and even save others.

"I love your hair."

"I'm sorry."

"You did a great job, today"

"You make me happy."

"You have such a wonderful talent!"

"You mean so very much to me."

"I forgive you."

"I love you."

These words build. They fix. They encourage. They save.

Actions are mighty. But so are words.

Choose yours wisely.


Speak when you're angry and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.

Smart people speak from experience. Smarter people, from experience, don't speak.

The fish that gets in trouble is the one that opens its mouth. You never saw a fish on the wall with its mouth shut.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalms 141:3)

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are things you get ashamed of because words diminish them, words shrink things that seemed so timeless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out.

Kind words, kind looks, kind acts, and warm handshakes; these are means of grace when men in trouble are fighting their unseen battles. (John Hall)

Good manners and soft words have brought many a difficult thing to pass. (Aesop)

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness (Audrey Hepburn)

Kind words produce their own image in men's souls; and a beautiful image it is! They soothe and quiet and comfort the hearer. They shame him out of his sour, morose, unkind feelings. We have not yet begun to use kind words in such abundance as they ought to. (Blaise Pascal)

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around (Leo Buscaglia)

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. (Mother Teresa)

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody. (Benjamin Franklin)

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29)

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. (James 3:3-6)
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.

This little piggy came home.


Today's the day.

And I'm smiling from ear to ear and can't stop giggling.

Because she's just so stinkin' cute!!

The ladies over at Emitations have been taunting playfully teasing me all week with knowledge of Fern's whereabouts and her ETA.



Needless to say, I've been more than a little giddy about this all.week.long.

So today it's been all I could do to keep my happy tail at work, knowing that Fern would need me (or my signature, at least) to greet her and welcome her to our family.

Ignore the blurred address. It makes those who love me most feel a little more secure about my life being on the Internet. Since they're gracious enough to love me, I figure I can try to keep their mind at ease.
At 10:20 I went by the house to find this in my mail box.

So I went back to work and tried my very best to quit fidgeting and smiling and checking the clock to see if it was lunchtime yet.

And it wasn't for like ten-gazillion years.

But FINALLY it was and I was off to the post-office in hopes that maybe Mr. Postman went back to the building for lunch and happened to leave it there a few hours earlier than he noted on the slip.

But he didn't.

Thus I was forced to stalk him down.

I think he's psychic. Or it's a small town and he knew who I was before I even had to tell him because he pulled the box out and had it waiting on me before I even got to the truck.

He's nice like that.

So home I went with my box in my lap and a mile-wide smile on my face.

Here's where I must be honest. I planned to video all of this. And I should have. But I didn't.



Patience isn't my thing. I did good to snap a few pictures.



Besides, the video would basically have been giggles and smiles all the way through.



Especailly at this point.



And I think right here is when my heart was in my throat and I was thankful that my silly, giddieness wasn't captured on video, no matter how cute it was!



Welcome to the family. I may not have cried when I first saw you, but now that it's sinking in that you're here....well, it's a good thing.

Thank you Emitations. Thank you with my whole heart.

You have no idea what this little piggy means to me.



For back-story on Fern, what she means to me, and how I got her go here:
Up In The Air
Pigs With Wings
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.