April 19, 2018

Show up for real

What does it mean to be real? We live in a world full of noise—everywhere we turn there is a new model of what yesterdays “cool” was. Every minute something new is created and marketed to us as if it was as important as the air we breathe. We are left wondering if we will ever be able to afford to fit in—if we will ever really catch up.

Many days we walk around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out which way is up—seeking to know what we should want to buy, and who we should strive to be—a consumer society that has trained us to never feel enough. Our kids tell us they are “the only person they know who has to live without it”, and our screens tell us that we must obtain to find happiness.

Pictures are altered to perfection. Lives are portrayed as flawless. Social media is our addiction, but with every swipe we wonder why we just can’t measure up. We know it isn’t real, but still set our sights to one day achieve it—a picture perfect, calm, steady, always thriving, always successful, always beautiful life.

So what is your real? Are you living life—or waiting to catch up before it begins? What are you waiting for? When will you know you made it there? If the world is always changing—cars are getting faster, phones are getting more high tech, and clothes are getting just a little more stylish every day—is there ever going to be a time when you don’t feel like you need more to be happy?

Are there voices around you that maybe you have the power to turn off? Can you put down your phone and play when your kids need you, or have you grown too scared that you will miss something when you do? Do you feel disconnected from everyone and everything around you because you spend your whole day trying to connect with the people and products in your screen? Do your kids look you in the eye when you talk to them, or do they always just look down into the device in their hand? Do you ever talk to your roommates, or do you always just scroll through your friends? Do you have time to show up . . . even for yourself?

Then lets take a stand. Nobody owns us. We are powerful, but we keep forgetting that we are in charge. If our children are so attached to a device, but don’t know how to respect us . . . it is our job to teach them that people are what matter. If we aren’t showing up for the people in our life, we are failing the most important part of our mission here on earth—to learn to love, to learn how to clean, and work, and have fun together. To create lasting and healthy relationships, filled with respect and honesty and light. To one-day leave the ones we love with memories, not just stuff.

Relationships—real people—are the only thing that can bring true joy. No amount of money or possessions will ever take their place.

So today—along with my family—we challenge you to show up . . . because that is what we are working on doing for each other. And it matters. If it weren’t so important, there wouldn’t be so many things trying to stop us all from remembering . . . each other.

Even in a noisy world, we have the power to take a stand and be the kind of person we want our sons and daughters to become—for we are teaching more by our examples than by the words that we say.


Show up. Life is too short. You don’t need a million likes to be someone they are proud of . . . one day all you will have left is the memories you made.




Come see me in person at A Reason to Stand: FEARless next Saturday in Las Vegas!!! April 28th! 

April 11, 2018

Forgiveness


April 10, 2018

The power of Choosing Happy

What makes you happy? Like really deep down makes you happy? And I don’t want you to give me the Sunday school answers that you think I want to hear. And PS . . . I can’t really hear your answers even if you say them out loud. So this question is more for you to ponder.  What makes you HAPPY?

Because if you just stared at this screen and you really don’t know . . . you might be missing something. Are you a happy person? Do you want to be? Did you used to be, and have some how lost your way? 

Then lets start with a few other basic questions. What is holding you back from feeling happiness and seeing joy in your life? Is it another person—or lack of another person? Is it your job? Is your kids, or kids you wished you had? Is it the car that you drive—or hope to some day? Are you waiting for a new house to take away your messes? Are you waiting for a first date, to tell you of your worth? Are you waiting for your kids to grow up so you can start enjoying them? Are you waiting to lose some weight so you can start looking at yourself in the mirror? Are you stuck wanting something different, so you can smile again? How long have you been waiting . . . and how long are you going to be willing to wait? If your prize doesn’t come at all—will you die wishing you had found your happiness? 

Ok, imagine for a second a life with none of those things standing in the way—as your excuse—of your happiness. What does it look like? Just you and your smile. Content. Calm. Present. Look at that—you showed up . . . for yourself. Not for anyone else—just for you. 

Happiness is a choice. It is a decision we make every single day. And if you aren’t happy now, chances are . . . you aren’t going to find it no matter what. Do you like you? Do you see your worth and value when no one is around to tell you? Are you waiting for yourself to change before you start being your own friend?

Life is going to be full of changes, some for the better . . . and some unimaginably hard. If we can learn to smile right now—in the hard days, and the good—we will smile again. Because if happiness is a choice . . . it can always be part of our life. 

Happiness isn’t living a perfectly bright day. Happiness is choosing to find the perfect little light . . . in an imperfect life.


You deserve to smile today, and tomorrow . . . and every day you take a breath. Because you a miracle. You are rare, and precious, and your smile brings light. Choose happy. Not because it is easy, but because you deserve to shine. The world is waiting for your glow. Beam on. 








(As I sat down and these words came to my screen, I couldn't stop thinking about this moment at Emmett's funeral when someone told the kids to smile for a picture. At first I just felt annoyed. My eyes burned from the day. My heart was broken from the pain. My mind was cloudy from the betrayal and the trauma. But those five babies in my arms, gave me hope that someday I would find joy again . . . and that—in that moment—made me happy. )


April 4, 2018

Trials and Miles

I shared some thoughts on the Trials and Miles podcast this week. Here is the link if you want to check it out.

Trials and Miles

April 3, 2018

Failure

I need to apologize. In January I announced that Shawn and I had just finished up the process of a divorce.  I did it with no warning. I was so scared to be viewed as a failure—so afraid that I was letting everyone down. I was so afraid to even just write it. So scared to read the ‘see . . . we told you that this would fail’—s that I knew would come. And they did. Because that is who we are—human beings—all of us imperfect, trying to do our best to hold it all together—all the while judging those who cannot accomplish what we too fail to be. Sometimes we aren’t kind to each other. And in a moment when I already feared failure, some people were unkind to me.

But this is not anything new. Because I received similar attacks when I lost my husband to murder seven years ago. People blaming me, and putting me down. So today I wanted to share how it made me feel—both times—in a moment when I needed support, to have some people try to tear me down.

And I am not sharing this as a way to get anyone to change their feelings about what you view as my failures—because I don’t really care what you think. But there are people around you, whether in your real life—or your virtual life—who can’t see past your dark words. They feel like they are drowning. The things people say are hurting them so deep, they can’t stop the pain. They feel alone every single day. They have had to make grown up choices that they have felt unprepared to make. They are raising babies by themselves, not because it is easy . . . but because life doesn’t always turn out like we planned. Maybe their circumstances are because of their own poor choices, but maybe—just maybe—they didn’t have another choice to make. Maybe your put downs will help them see what a failure you think they are . . . or maybe they will literally send them over the edge of the dark cliff they are already hanging from.

We may think we have all the answers for everyone around us, but what I have learned to be true is . . . we don’t have one. Each person—whether rich or poor, tall or short, male or female—we are all capable of making our own choices. Unfortunately those ready to make choices will also have to stand accountable to God for their decisions . . . but too will they stand before Him in the choices they make that are not as black and white—decisions only He knows all the different parts to. And just like you, the people you see as failures . . . might just being doing their best. And maybe—just maybe—what you view as their failure, could be the very thing God asked them to do . . . to succeed.

So I just want to throw out a challenge to this big fat universe full of opinions and words. The challenge is that we use this gift of technology—of knowledge, of freedom of speech . . . to bring light. We have enough bullies in our own minds, we don’t need to keep hurting each other. If someone is going through a hard time . . . take the opportunity to lift them up. They already see their own failures, what they need today is a friend—because they may not even have one of those in themselves.

To be Christ like we don’t need to be the ultimate judge—but we have been asked to be the ultimate friend. And a friend is someone who doesn’t see differences as failures—but believes in the person who is trying their best to succeed.

Thank you to all my friends who have stood with me through all the roads I have been asked to walk. You make a difference in my life, and your light brightens my world. Thank you for your examples of love, support, and friendship. 



















March 15, 2018

A Reason to Stand: FEARless in Las Vegas April 28th, 2018

Guys...good news. I have been given an opportunity to bring my conference to Las Vegas on April 28th. Come see me!!!!! www.areasontostand.com for more details.



A Reason to Stand: FEARless
Las Vegas, Nevada
April 28th
9am-6pm
4660 N. Rancho Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89130




March 6, 2018

7+7=14

Fourteen years ago today. Seven we spent together—the last seven...we spent without you. I didn’t know then that the decision to marry you was going to be full of so many blessings, and so much pain. I didn’t know that the family we dreamed of creating together...I would raise without you. I didn’t know that I could love so much, and hurt so deeply. I didn’t know that as we reached our seven year wedding anniversary—just weeks after giving birth to our fifth baby—that just five days later you would be taken from us. 

I didn’t know. I didn’t know about the affair, I didn’t know about the gun. I didn’t know about nights staring out into the darkness...too afraid to sleep. I didn’t know that I could lose so much in a moment. But I said yes. I took a chance. Some would say I failed...I chose wrong. And that’s ok. All they see now is a man who was an idiot...and lost not only his marriage—but also his life. 

It’s hard to understand the impact a single choice can make. It’s hard to feel the significance every decision we choose will have on the people we love—even effect the ones we barely know. 

Some people don’t get the chance to see the impact of their actions...but seven years ago we did. 

You know, Emmett was a man of many words. As an attorney he was a voice for those who had lost theirs, and as a friend...he was always there with encouragement.

We won’t ever spend an anniversary together, but I can almost hear your voice tonight as I think about all the lessons you would be able to share with those waking along a destructive path. 

“You don’t have to do this all on your own. You are not invisible, but you are incredible. You are worthy of the love all around you. You are capable of greatness. You are worthy of loyalty and kindness. You are magnificent. You can change. Believe in Yourself. Believe in the light. Believe in grace. It is for you too. He hasn’t forgotten you, and He never will. Even you are enough for Him. Go make it great. You only have this one life...don’t lose a moment. Fight for light.” 

Though this last fourteen years has not looked like I pictured as I kneeled across from a man who promised me the world...I am grateful for the decision I made—because it gave me five of the coolest kids I have ever met. It gave me a path that has strengthened everything I know to be true. It gave me a heart that has had to work harder than I ever knew possible...to get back up and keep beating. And I love the me—this journey has helped me remember—that I was all along. A daughter of a Heavenly Father, capable of giving and receiving love, light and truth. 

And so are you. Whatever road you are walking, I know if you turn to Him...God will help you find grace in your story. It matters. 






February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day

Doing a fun giveaway on my Facebook Standing Beautiful group page. Go check it out. Happy Valentines/Galentines/Independence Day!!!!

Standing Beautiful Group

February 13, 2018

Reclaim You Event


I am going to be a keynote speaker at a fun event in Utah in April. (this is not an event sponsored by me) If anyone wants to come join me use code ASHLEE at checkout and you will receive $50 off.  The site is therelationshiprecovery.com

February 3, 2018

Divorce

As I stand at a crossroad in my life— this past month—I have been guided to some really tough choices. Like many times before... leading me to a path I did not choose. But after years of fighting some impossible battles...to avoid this reality, I wanted to share with those of you who have followed our healing journey—Shawn and I are officially divorced.

It has not been an easy choice—letting go of the family I thought we had created—and there are parts of our life together I will always be so grateful for. We made it through some impossible days, but as time has gone on, we were both finding strength in two different paths and there came a time when we no longer could support each other on those journeys.

I have—and always will—see Jordyn as one of my own. She and I have always had a strong connection and are a lot a like. My heart hurts not having her apart of our daily lives.

I don’t want to dwell on the “whys” and “what ifs”, I have already asked all of those questions many times. So what I would ask of all of you—moving forward—is that we focus on the positives that life will bring and rally around six children who are hurting and in transition.

Shawn and I shared many good days, many of which I have felt impressed to share on social media, other days...we fought silent battles we didn’t feel the desire to open to the world. We gave each other strength during a hard time of life, and I hope that no one turns this into a reason to be unkind or lose faith in the many blessings we each receive to give us strength on our unique paths.

I am at peace, and I know that— just like in other pivotal moments in my life—God has a plan for me and believes in me as a mother, a woman, a wife, and as a person capable of giving and receiving love. I have faith that I can and will continue to be the woman I have always strived to be.

I don’t know how much time I am going to need to get things figured out for the future, but I pray that this community—of fighters that have held us up so many times before—will stand with us as we continue on a journey we started long ago...with a promise of peace and healing and all the light this world has to offer.

I don’t think anyone plans that one day they will have to choose divorce, but I do know that we can choose to be happy regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in—in life. And we can choose to move forward. I have so much to be thankful for. And I am grateful for each of you and your continued support and understanding as I—just like you—navigate an unknown future full of valleys and mountains. Continually passing through lessons to help me find courage in myself, and even greater faith in our God.

He is real, and we need His strength through the good times, and the hard. Those crossroads—the days that feel impossible and lonely—they are just moments. Moments that we can still choose to stand.

 
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