April 8, 2020

Love parenting

I had a sweet online friend message asking for advise on how to make it so her kids don’t driver her crazy. So I thought I would share my thoughts on ideas that work for me to build relationships with my kids and ask all of you to share as well.

Joyful parenting for me starts with looking at myself and how I am showing up. Usually when they are having problems...I find that I am usually the reason why. Days when I am too busy for them, unorganized, easily frustrated, not feeling good about myself, or too tired...usually end in moments of frustration with my kids. 

The good days usually begin with one of five things:

First off—I think this probably rings true for all of you who have lost someone close to you—we don’t get to choose when our last day will be with anyone...let alone our babies. Time is a gift—that we sometimes learn the hard way—can easily be taken away. For me that knowledge has helped me enjoy the little moments, desire to create lasting memories, take pictures often, and have more patience and willingness to forgive and move forward with love. 

Second. I have found that time can be stolen from us in ways we cannot even see. Scrolling through social media (or another addiction of choice) is a nice down time...but can become a thief to precious moments that could be spent loving, teaching or caring about someone’s feelings. 

Third. I work hard trying to spend more time looking for the good and less time showing them what they do wrong.  

Fourth. I try to remember that mistakes are how they learn. Milk can be cleaned. Broken dishes can be replaced...but words cannot be taken back. Relationships are harder to mend than jeans with skinned knees. Parenting is a hard job...but I try to remember so is being a kid. We do a lot of balancing of work and fun. (Yesterday we went for a hike that everyone loved...but first everyone did some jobs, homework, and yard work)

Fifth. I see the seven people in my house as my best friends. I have made it a goal to never use words or actions that make them feel like a burden or unimportant to me. They are all my favorite, and I work every day to build a relationship unique to each kid. I try to celebrate their differences, and connect with them in the things that make them tick. 

Ok I want to hear from you! Especially during this time when we are all at home. I know there are some hard days! We all have them, so don’t feel alone! I could write a book on all the moments I haven’t done parenting right, but today I would love to focus on the things we do right. What have been your parenting wins—during quarantine or before—that you are proud of? 

March 30, 2020

Questions that bring light

I have always defined the word trauma as a moment when you stop in your tracks and think “my life is never going to be the same”. That moment might not have ever affected anybody else... but it may be one that has lasted inside of a person for a very long time. 

The weirdest part about trauma is how it shows up when your body goes into that state in anyway again. A trigger can be anything that feels as if it could become a traumatic moment. In this time of uncertainty, I have talked to and receive messages from many of us who are experiencing some of those waves. And without fail those waves seem to bring with them one similar theme. A question of “why”. 

Asking “Why?”gets us feeling more alone, and more afraid. So today—as I have been working on this myself— I thought I would share some ideas of different questions to ask that might help spark some light...maybe even some moments of joy. 

Who can I reach out to today and help them feel less alone? Where does God need me today? (Hint...for most of us ironically—a lot of days—it will be within the walls of our own home...not just on days where we are home bound with stay-at-home orders) What can I do today for someone else? How can I get some exercise today to help my mental and physical health? How can I brighten the world for someone else? What questions can I ask to get my family talking and sharing? What can I do today to strengthen the relationships that are important to me? Who needs me to show up for them right now?

How can I step away from my coping mechanisms and spend quality time with the other people in this house with me? Who does God want us to be as a family...as individuals...as couples? What would it take for us to get there? How can I choose faith over fear today? What food will help my body feel healthy and safe today? What media or communications can I have that will bring light into my mind?

How can I feel grounded when the world seems so unsure? How can I connect to the Savior today to help me feel safe? How can I use this time in stillness and down time to better myself and the world around me? How can I support my (spouse or friend) who has been laid off and isn’t feeling worth a lot right now? What can I write in my journal that will help me work through past trauma so today’s trauma doesn’t feel so heavy? What around me makes me happy today? How can I purify my life and my space so I have good energy around me? What could I get purge (mentally, physically, emotionally, and tangibly) that doesn’t bring me joy? 

How can I find joy in the darkness I feel? How does God see me; what steps can I take so I can see myself how He sees me?

I hope this list helps you spark some ideas of the kinds of questions you want to write and ask yourself. I know this is a time of confusion, but we have the power to create light and life for ourselves and the people we love. Make these moments count! God knows where we are and He has not abandoned us, He is just giving us a chance to see how strong we are. 

Ok my brave friends. I need some more positive questions to ask. If one comes to you and you want to share...leave it for me in the comments! Stay healthy and safe. Ash

I don’t know who you give credit for, for this pic. Who ever you are, thank you! It is perfect. 

March 26, 2020

Quarantined

I have spent a lot of time over the last week and a half evaluating life from a perspective I haven’t seen for a long time. It has defiantly been a dance of fear and faith. Some days I wake up with the drive to keep living, producing, and creating. Other mornings I wake up in a fog feeling alone, overwhelmed, and scared for what’s next. What is next? I think we have all wondered that as the last few weeks have shown up with surprises each day. The unknown of what tomorrow might bring can be so daunting when we are nation...a world...surviving—in many ways—in shock and trying to suppress and process a new form of PTSD many of us didn’t know existed. This is scary. So many people are grieving a life that changed overnight, and people they have lost through this pandemic. So many business are sacrificing their own needs to help us all survive. We are uniting in ways we never have before. There is beauty happening through this struggle. Thank you to everyone who is making personal sacrifices for the greater picture. We are all part of one unit, individuals who are so used to doing most everything on our own. We are finally beginning to see how much we need each other. That alone is full of so much light.  

I have prayed so hard on how I can help make a difference. As the announcement was made to put on hold all gatherings, many events I had been asked to speak at this month and next have been postponed or cancelled. And we will be postponing all in person events for A Reason to Stand

 Next month we are going to hold a virtual A Reason to Stand conference. It will be free to the public and I have many presenters who were willing to join with me and share hope and healing for all of us who have felt broken, alone, and afraid. 

I will have more details soon, and I am excited to present to you many amazing fighters who have brought so much light into my life. 

As far as quarantined life is going...I am not hating having these kids to myself. We are enjoying some much needed slowing down and stillness. I love watching them team up, get creative, and spend more quality time together. We are so blessed.

Love you all. We are praying for everyone as we all embrace some hard changes, decide how we are going to show up, and turn to the one source of peace and love. He is always there and He loves each of us more than we know. 







March 11, 2020

Remember so you never forget

March 11th. 9 years and it’s like I can still remember every detail so clearly, yet all at once it seems like a life time ago that took place in a fog. 

I was awake many hours last night, after having my—now yearly dream—two gun shots, detectives, babies crying, fear so intense I can’t breath, an affair, lies, a casket, a murder trial. Always surrounded by people but never feeling so alone. 

Every year during this week. Like clock work. I am guessing to remind me how not invincible I am, and to let it all go...all over again. 

So what does it feel like 9 years out? That’s what they always ask, does this get easier? When do you stop looking around every room you walk in for danger; when do you stop being scared to sit with your back to the entrance of a restaurant? When do you get back to “normal”? When do you stop feeling the fear? 

To that I answer...You don’t. Nothing can take you back to be the same person you were before a severe trauma. The fear still exhists because the pain that was...is still real. Memories are apart of you. Those fears are powerful. 

What changes is how you react to them. How you let them react in you. Time doesn’t take away pain...it just gives you tools to manage and work through it. Time doesn’t change what happened, but it gives you lots of moments to be able to see it differently. Time doesn’t make you forget, but it does let you remember. Remember the miracles that happened in the dark. Time lets you remember the light that still exists all around—and inside of—you. Time heals wounds if we let it...but it is a choice—not a right. 

We each have two choices. We can live in fear...or faith. Both take a belief in something we cannot see. Pain comes from living in the fear...and healing is found as you choose to live in faith. 

Thanks for all your sweet messages. I cherish them. And to those of you who only know me from watching me cry on tv...and still send me messages every year on this day, I hope it always reminds you to choose light. I hope you feel the power and love of your God, and every year on this day you are reminded to put your family first, to choose good over evil, to follow a path that will bring you joy...not excitement in the moment—but the eternal kind of joy that only families can bring. I hope every year on this day you choose to forgive someone who has hurt you...and make right any pain you have caused. I hope every year on March 11th, you remember that you are a child of God, and He sent you here to remember how great you are. Show up. Be kind. And live in all the faith you can find. Let your light shine. You were born for greatness...your story isn’t over. 

February 13, 2020

Live with Carol Tuttle



All of you should know by now I am a big fan of Carol Tuttle and her parenting book and dressing your truth concept. We have a fun little chat the other day I wanted to share with you. Energy types and how they play a role in who we are as parents, children, and grown children learning to heal.

Here is a free video course on starting with the basics of energy types: http://www.liveyourtruth.com/259-12.html


Here are links for some of Carol's most popular products: Dressing Your Truth - ‪https://www.liveyourtruth.com/259.html‬ The Carol Tuttle Healing Center -https://www.liveyourtruth.com/259-7.html The Child Whisperer - https://www.liveyourtruth.com/259-2.html

February 3, 2020

A million reasons

This morning I woke up thinking about a tree I met many years ago. At the time I was a young college girl with the world at my fingertips. It was my 21st birthday, I was planning a wedding, and I couldn’t wait for the future. I felt sorry for that little tree. I stopped just a moment to listen to the story of how in a flash of light, its whole world changed. The story is said that when this tree was just small it was hit by a bolt of lighting—splitting it into many pieces. The little tree didn’t die—but for a long time it didn’t live either. Just fought. Then one day—as the story goes—life finally sprang again from its branches. Magnificent and unique . . . it found a way to get back up; way different than what it thought it had been created to be. It could no longer stand tall—but wow how it stood. Beautiful, brave, strong, and not just surviving . . . thriving. Many years had passed, and through many storms . . . there it stood.

I passed that tree hundreds of times—sometimes it was shade for cows in the hot sun, birds flew in and out of nests in its branches—every time I always remembered the story of its past. 

One day my drive passed this brave tree was very different. It stood at the bottom of a hill. One I knew I had to climb with my babies, to bury their father. The ground was covered in white—a lot like today—and there it’s snow covered branches reached out to me...and for the first time I didn’t see a broken little tree full of pain . . . I saw . . . hope. 

We all have a million reasons every day to just give up. Pain so real it could strangle us. Fear so strong it keeps us awake. Futures so unknown we feel like we are walking—or climbing that hill—in the dark. 

No matter our story...we are a lot like this little tree. Survivors who know what it is like to have a million reasons we aren’t going to be enough—fighting voices that tell us to just give up—but showing up anyway.

If a tiny tree can be hit so hard and broken so badly...but still stand anyway, so can we. A million reasons could keep us broken...but there are just as many that can keep us standing.

Reach those branches out proudly. If anyone knew the storms you have had to weather to stand so tall...they would know how much courage it took for you to hold them up. I can promise you this...God knows, and He is so proud of the magnificent, brave, warrior you have turned out to be. Hold your head up friends. Your story isn’t over. 


January 7, 2020

Looking in the mirror

Every year on January 1st, we look in the mirror with a resolve to be different than we were last year. A lot of times we set goals and lists of the things we want to be. Some years we follow through; other years our fears stop us before we even get a chance to begin. Not so much because we don’t want to be better, but more...afraid we might fail, or—even worse—we are scared we might actually succeed. We think: Who am I to be healthy? Who am I to be successful? What right to do I have to spend an entire year bettering myself when so many others need me? How could I possibly say no to that? How could I be strong enough to stand up for myself? Who am I to be organized?—I am just an overwhelmed person. 

Beliefs can change the way we see ourselves. Beliefs can stem clear back from our ancestors—trickling down through decades of patterns; or beliefs can cling to us after a life event shows us evidence of its “importance” in our minds. 

Wherever they come from, beliefs can hold us back in ways we can’t even see. Threatening us to fail...and mocking us if we try to succeed. 

So what do you want this year? Who do you want to become? You might have to start by asking yourself what beliefs are in play right now that will stop you from those goals? We are all really good at making lists of things we want ourselves—or others—to do better. We are all great at talking about change, but until we understand why we are the way that we are...most of the time we will find ourselves wishing for the same change year after year, never understanding why we can’t succeed. 

Fear. Where did you come from? 

Do you find yourself looking in the mirror and thinking, “my mother was right...I would be more lovable if I could just lose some weight?” Or “Just like my dad...I will never be good at ...” Do your fears and insecurities come from years of training—watching others you look up to hold themselves back...or are they originals you created in your own mind to “protect” yourself from humiliation and failure? 

Look into that mirror again. What do you see? Your fears might tell you that you see a person struggling, a person unworthy, a person broken. You might see all you didn’t like about your mother or father—things you said you never wanted to become. You might see flaws and cracks—someone to hate. 

Look into the mirror one more time. Look a little deeper. What do your truths say? If you could erase all the lies—the ones you carry deep, the ones you think are so invisible and covered, the ones that have played for generations, the ones that you have spent a life time gathering—who would you be then? If you didn’t hear your haters voices echo inside of you, or the dude in your head telling you of all that you are not...what would be left? You know what it would be? An amazing, beautiful, worthy child of God. That is your truth. 

Without fears and insecurities and blocks about who we think we are—or who we are afraid others believe us to be—we find our true selves. Not broken people who write lists or goals of an ideal version of what we never truly believe we can become. Without the lies...all that is left is the truth. Without the lies...we find—who we were always meant to be. 

Your life has been tough. That is for sure. Warriors are the ones who survive the hard stuff—not losers. Your story didn’t break you....or else you would not still be here. You have walked through the heaviest parts with grace because you are strong. So start believing it. Live that truth and tell the fear it is time to go. You know the only thing that has ever held you back...is you. So write the list this year armed with truth. Set goals—not out of fear of who you think you have to be, but—with faith that you will just remember who you are. 






-I love this phase when babies start to find themselves in the mirror, though the twins never got too excited because they basically had a mirror in front of them at all times! πŸ˜‚ Happy New Year friends. Thanks for being here and always supporting us! We love you. 

December 11, 2019

Two Christmases

https://www.lovewhatmatters.com/i-need-a-favor-we-had-nothing-under-our-christmas-tree-the-only-thing-i-was-able-to-purchase-was-a-nail-polish-i-need-you-to-be-ok/

Love what Matters shared my nail polish story from last year. ❤️ Two Christmases I will never forget.

December 4, 2019

Resilience

Walked into the room to these two smiley faces...made my day. 😍😍

So, I have been taking some classes on childhood trauma, and today in a video something really stood out to me. They were talking about traumatized children and adults and how each of us have things from our past that trigger us to our fears—no one being exempt but especially people who have suffered severe trauma. They shared some examples of parents responding out of fear to their children, and children reactIng to their own triggers. At the end of all the examples the question was asked, “What do you think makes the biggest difference to help these children cope?” My first thought was: obviously perfect parents that never ever react or get triggered and know how to handle and guide their kids through their fear. The teacher’s answer is what really stuck with me. The children who are the most successful in overcoming trauma and working through their fear aren’t the ones who have perfect parents...they are the ones who have parents who get triggered, make mistakes, say they are sorry, and make things right. 



 We don’t lead by example by being perfect—in that world our imperfect children have no room for making mistakes—we lead by showing them that mistakes are fixable, and that asking for forgiveness is empowering. We lead imperfect people the best by being ok with being imperfect ourselves...and having enough humility to admit when we mess up. So hats off to all of us imperfect parents...our kids have hope after all. πŸ‘ŠπŸΌπŸ˜œ #kicktraumaintheface #yougotthis 

November 21, 2019

Keep baking

Monday morning I was making breakfast and talking with Kaleeya and Tytus as they sat very chatty at the bar. In between flipping crepes I was trying to get all the clean Sunday dinner pots and pans put away so we could see the rest of the counter top. In mid sentence Tytus stopped, pointed and half laughing joked, “Hey Mom...maybe just buy a new pan that doesn’t have your life history on it.” I looked down to the oldest cookie sheet man has ever known...with two last names scribbled out and one more written boldly. We all burst into hysterics—I haven’t laughed that hard in such a long time. These kids are so witty. 

Since Dateline first told about Emmett’s affairs and shooting 6 years ago, and many other murder mystery shows have since, I always know when an episode about our story—or Dr. Phil—has aired again. I gain a lot of new friends, but I also find enemies—messages of hate trying to make me feel as if I should be ashamed of myself. This week has been one of those weeks. Yesterday as I read a message from a very passionate soul, I sat stunned at the gumption of her direct words about who she believes I am. In a moment of being human, I let her words enter my heart. Weirdly enough they came in the form of my own fears...”Wow. Your relationship with a cookie sheet has lasted longer than any marriage you have had”. 

It’s true. This cookie sheet has literally stood by my side longer than these five kids got to see their father and longer than I got to be Jordyn’s mom. I remember the exact moment we started out—me and this cookie sheet. We thought we had the world at our fingertips. We dreamed of one day cooking Christmas ornaments with tiny baby hands. We dreamed of the cookies we would bake on their first day of school. Birthday cakes and card game trays on road trips. Brand new and shinny it glistened with promises of years to come. We both couldn’t wait to get started. 

As I stare at this old cookie sheet, I have begun to realize how different real life has been from the one we imagined...but...most of our dreams have come true. We are both a little stained and burned in some spots...but we have lived our dreams—just in a whole different way than we had planned. Well guess what? I made cookies on that tattered little pan and they cooked just as they always have. They were delicious and toasty brown—just as they were 15 years ago—and everyone loved them. 

I used to spend a lot of time feeling ashamed that life has handed me so many struggles—and just as many last names. I used to think that happiness was never having to change—living without loss and failure. I used to think that what others thought of me was important. Now I know...this was always the plan. We get to keep finding our worth even when others can’t see it. 


Kind of like my little “life history” cookie sheet...we all find ourselves in different circumstances. Some might be ideal, others might be a season of maturing and growth. We might get burned. Some days we might do the burning. We might get lost for a while when we get dropped behind a broken drawer. We will make mistakes, forget to set timers, forget to prepare for the heat, or forget to dust ourselves off...but we are still worthy of making greatness. Capable of bringing smiles simply by doing what we were created to do. Bake cookies. Live life. 

You aren’t alone. You have been burned and sometimes forgotten. You have felt broken and have looked back and wished you could shine like you used to. Just keep baking anyway. You  have so much to offer, and if no one can see it right now...just know your worth simply by all you can do for others. Know your worth doesn’t come from another person—but from within. Truths about who you are will never be replaced by what another believes you to be. Truths about who you really are don’t come from years of searching...they come by moments of remembering. You were born for greatness. Keep baking. 






 
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