April 13, 2016


I was promised long ago that I have a gift to see beauty in the world. For the last five years, I would have to admit that that gift has been put to the test. 

Things that used to come easy to me, all the sudden seemed impossible. I had spent years as a photographer capturing beauty with the click of a button—but for the last five years my camera has been collecting dust on my shelf.

So with this New Year—and my many new beginnings—I have made a promise to myself that I will begin to do things that bring me joy.

I brought my camera out last week to snap a few pictures of my sister’s cute belly before she has her baby. When I turned it on, I realized it had been about a year and a half since I had even taken a picture with it.

You see—if I want to be completely honest with you—taking pictures used to be my joy. It is so hard to put into words, but when you go through grief and trauma, things that once brought you joy begin to be reminders of a happiness you lost. For me, taking pictures brought up a lot of guilt—for moving on.

So this post is for no one but me—a documentary of overcoming. I, Ashlee, have committed this year . . . to live. I have committed to set free fear, hate, bitterness, and guilt. I acknowledge that to let go of these things, I have to find beauty. And to find beauty, I have to be true to my joy. 

So here it is. Another step of my healing journey: overcoming fear of letting go; overcoming guilt of moving on; and using my gift to find the beauty that is all around me.

Our days are going to be filled with hard things. Our lives are going to full of pain, loss, fear, and heart ache. But there truly is beauty all around us. Through the valleys and the mountains—there is so much to be thankful for.

It feels so good to see it.

Even in the simplest of views—there are little rays of sunshine that lighten our path.

Tonight while Teage was at scouts I headed on a drive. I didn’t even have to get out of my car to capture these images—just driving, pulling over and snapping pictures. It was so cathartic and serene.

I know there are some things that are hard to do—all of us have joy that has fallen through the cracks . . . things we now try to avoid.  For most people snapping a few pictures on a camera seems like a pretty simple feat, but for me—this week—it was a milestone.

Celebrate those moments of overcoming. Even if it feels simple to the world—it is you taking a stand against the trauma and seeing the beauty you had forgotten.

Don’t just live life . . . celebrate it.  Create it. 

For more information on grief visit:
howdoigoon.org (A grief website I helped create for those going through grief)


Kristie (Holland) Young said...

Thank you I really needed that.

glenda said...

Beautiful! I've done the cleanse breath. Let it go...let go of the fear and bitterness and breathe in peace. We can't control everything so let it go. Let God! By the way your sister and her bump = gorgeous! And I find peace in good scenic pictures. Beautiful pictures. Can't wait to see more!

AR said...

Ashlee, I just want you to know how big of an impact your blog has had on me during a time when I really needed encouragement. Your grace, beauty, and positivity are so inspirational. Thank you.

Miquelle Crosland said...

I think the last five years, you have been able to capture the beauty of communication, relationships, and the need to express all emotions.

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