I don’t know why I chose to write all this down last night…I guess it chose me. Sometimes I can’t stop it from pouring out…..so much so I kind of just type frantically so I can get it all out before it disappears into thin air **poof**. I was thinking about a conversation that Gale (my MIL) and I had on the drive to Loma Linda Friday about the night I went into surgery 6 weeks ago. She was telling me about the phone conversation when my FIL Barry called her (when I should have been coming OUT of surgery):
Barry: It isn’t good. They are doing an emergency hysterectomy right now.
Gale: What?! So she won’t be able to have a baby?
Barry: Gale, they are working……to save her life.
Every time I think about that conversation I get the wind knocked out of me a little. You know, that feeling like you feel like you might cry but it’s just like a big gasp for air? I can’t believe how much I took for granted as I went in…..almost like I was invincible…..and how much trust I had put in those doctors. I remember being rolled into the OR and the radio was on. They had been waiting on the confirmation of my blood type and I was saying “oh please, like you would ever need blood.” I just took it all so lightly. They put a mask on my face and it was like a game to me: yeah right, they can’t get me to fall asleep…..3, 2…..(lights out). What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when all that changed. I wonder what the doctors said when they realized I was bleeding uncontrollably…..was it “oh sh@t” or was it a calm “we have a change of plans.” I keep meaning to ask Dr. R that. Will this be a story they recount in the OR from time to time? “Remember that young girl we operated on with the crazy tumor who almost bled to death? And she thought she was going to Olive Garden right after surgery? Ha….if only she knew.”
I often think: what if I hadn’t made it through? I imagine my dad talking to God saying “here’s the deal…..you don’t want her here yet….first of all, she’s going to be super mad….second of all, you’ll want to send her back for a while.”
I cry a lot in the shower or when I’m driving by myself. It all comes flooding out. But it’s never a sad or scared cry…..it’s an overwhelming emotional cry. Many times I find myself saying “thank you God, thank you” and I feel like my heart is going to cave in.
Someone wrote me the other day saying that my journey has been helping with their anxiety. I had to write back: “I wasn’t always like this.” I feel like I’m leaving out a huge part of the story. I struggled with a lot of things in my early 20s. I had severe anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve struggled with ADHD and social anxiety. I have very addictive tendencies and I was very aloof about them. It took me a long time to unlearn a lot of things. But I wouldn’t change a thing……I know everyone says that…but it’s true…..I tell myself: anyone who is the least bit interesting has a past. I could write a very colorful memoir…..although I’m not sure I’m ready for my mother to read it yet. I only wish I knew back then what I know now: that life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it.
The one big turning point for me in my life (before all of this current stuff) is when I learned to embrace “the dark side”…..and I did that through journaling. Journaling became my life for a few years (you can see some of them here).
Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them — if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry. – Catcher in the Rye
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” -Oscar Wilde
And then I think of my new friend Jenny. I’ve only known her for a short time….I met her through her mother Debby and we’ve only chatted through email. But I know I met her for a reason and I know she’s already had a huge impact on my life. I think about her all day long and wonder why we met….when God is going to take her home so soon. Two days ago she made a point to tell me “sure it’s short, but at least we got to know each other, and for some reason we are supposed to know each other.” And then…just like that…..she’s no longer able to physically email. I wonder how she’s feeling. And then I wonder if we have similar handwriting. I wonder what her drawings look like (she’s an artist). If anything could make me lose faith it would be this….but I won’t. I think of my dad greeting her in heaven and how welcome he’ll make her feel. He’ll know we had a connection.
“I by no means have given up on life, I still have days ahead of me but they are different. The life that I am living here are coming to an end and I am still enjoying what breaths I have left in my body up until that place where Steve Jobs kept saying “Wow”. I have accepted the life I was given, I have learned to cherish what wonderful things that have come my way and share it with others.” -Jenny Swett
Out of all of this……I have a new project I am starting:
The Li’l Journal Project
I’ll be mailing journals all over the world one-by-one to random people…..if you get one all you have to do is complete one page….in any way you like. You can add a quote, write a letter, draw something, paint something, paste a photo, insert a leaf inside, embroider a page, staple your business card to it etc. Then you pass it on to someone else. As people receive them they can share it on the Facebook page…..and I’ll share some on the blog too. You can read about those before you. It will be fun to track the travels of each journal. Once they fill up there will be an address to send it back to so we can scan in pages to share.
I hope that the journals will become thick and worn and full of history. I hope that those who randomly get them can learn something from the people before them.
oh ashley, what a heartfelt post. the power of journaling indeed!
wow. can i just say that you described so much of how i felt and what i experienced after i was caught in a shootout earlier this year. my car had bullet holes in it, but i managed to come out in one piece. although our experiences are different, what you wrote is pretty much dead on to what i was feeling, thinking, experiencing.
thank you so much for sharing with us.
much love to you.
What an amazing post. For those of us who only know you through this blog, it showed a whole different side to who you are and I’m grateful that you chose to share it. You’ve blessed people in a way you’ll never know. The journal idea is amazing and I can’t wait to see what comes of them.
tone hultmann says
All I can say is WOW – thank you for your honesty
I just started reading Jenny’s site and my heart is breaking for her and her family. You women are stronger than I ever could be. Thankfully my challenges have never been life threatening because I don’t know if I could deal as beautifully as you have, even with the bumps. Reading your posts do remind me to stay positive even on the hardest days because they could always be harder. And I love the journal idea. Can’t wait to see how they turn out!
“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” -Steve Jobs
Kimberly Seldomridge says
I’ve never heard that before but wow, what a perfect thing to say.
Ashley, do you know about BookCrossing.com? We register and label our books (and more than one journal has passed through my hands over the 9 years I’ve been a member) with a unique ID number. Then we leave them in public places for a stranger to find a journal on the site. We also do bookrings and rays where members sign up to read the book, and we pass it around. We trade books among ourselves.
There is so, so much more to BC than this brief paragraph, but when you mentioned your journal project, it sounded like something we would do.
BC is free and private and so, so much fun. I’m not overseas, but if you need overseas writers, I can register a journal on BC and send it to a friend in almost any country you want it to visit.
I’m TexasWren there, in case you join, you can use me as a referral. I don’t get anything out of it except the fun of bringing in a new member to my addiction, um, my hobby. 😉 You can email me if you want more info on it. I ran a support site for BC for many years. I love helping new people get started. Oh, and kids love it too! I had my grandkids involved until they got too cool for Grandma. 😉
how to pick up women says
Thank you, I have been searching for facts about this subject matter for ages and yours is the best I’ve found so far. how to pick up women
Once again you are just amazing…..
Michele LIttlefield says
I love reading your blog posts & seeing how you’re doing. I was thinking about your relationship with Jenny & you’re absolutely right, we meet who we are supossed to meet even if we never meet them in person. I’ve never met you yet I think about you & send you positive healing energy everyday. I cried when I read what you went through with your surgery. I cried reading this post as a matter of fact. When I hear Ke$ha or the song “Dynomite” & I think of Boo. I’ve adopted “Choose Joy” & I start everyday by saying it out loud to myself. You’ve touched many people by sharing your journey & I am one of them. Thank you.
Love & light,
WOW…the tears are flowing..not of sadness, but of awe in the way the Lord works. Looking forward to watch the Journal adventure. God bless you!
You make me want to be a better version of me. 2012 I’ll be working hard on that.
Thank you again.
Adversity changes you. In good ways and bad. In predictable ways and surprising ways. You gain perspective. You think harder than you possibly ever have before. You see things in a different light. Some people faces challenges early in life and it shapes who they are for the remainder. These are the luckiest people – though they may not know it. Having endured, fought, overcome and persisted they received a gift. The gift of knowing how truly fortunate they are when things go right and conversely knowing that they can make it through the greatest challenges and obstacles that life may throw at them in the future. It really struck a cord with me when you shared your “Choose Joy” slogan. A couple of years ago during a particularly dark and challenging time I said to my husband…you know what is missing in our lives? Joy. Giggling, silly, contagious, life affirming joy. I’ve tried to make small changes since then to bring more joy into our lives. It is true…you can choose joy. Seek it out. Kindle it. You don’t have to wait for it to find you…because it is possible it never will. Thank you for you blog…and just being you.
You continue to inspire me. I have chosen the “Choose Joy” moto back when I first read about your dad. The last few months have been so different for me. When things happen, I handle them completely different then before…and I thank you for that! What a great idea of the journals!
I’m sat with Beyonce singing on the TV,with my family. And I have a tear in my eye.I went in for spine surgery a month ago.I wrote a humorous farewell letter for my husband and hid it at the bottom of my underwear drawer. I told my close friends it was there. just in case
I came out of surgery fitting fit,but I’ve decided to leave that letter right where it is. You never know……
In fact we all do, our time will come sooner than we ever expected.
After losing both parents with terminal illnesses.They had time to prepare and make everything so much easier for everyone left behind.
I’d like to think my husband would find my hidden letter, and smile………
In 3 words….YOU ARE AMAZING!
I love to read your blog posts. You are such an inspiration and I soak in every word you write. I am so grateful to “know” you.
This post made me laugh out loud and weep at the same time. Thanks for taking the time to write it all down.
helen farden says
Loved this post. So beautiful!
I’m overseas (UK) and used the contact form! 😀 x
Ashley, your words help alot of people. It’s amazing that many of us have had the same issues or felt the same way. Your words make me think, make me want to write, read and most of all laugh and be nice. I have started reading my daily inspiration and think of you each night when I read. I hope that your journal mkes it my way… Your awesome..
Nydia Kehnle says
Thank you so much for sharing so openly. I am 29 and I suffer from depression, adhd, and anxiety… reading your words… so powerful. I have no words to describe how they affect me. Thank you.
Tracy Williams says
Thank you for sharing this today. I was so moved. I have been wanting to journal in hopes it would help me with some of my fears and anxieties and you have just given me the inspiration I need to get started. We are praying for your peace and healing. Thank you again for being such an inspiration!
I have been following your story and can I say how inspiring you are. My best friend has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and it is so scary but when I read how strong you are in your journey it gives me hope for my friend. Your journal book is such a wonderful idea. I pray for your healing, God bless you.
Ana Vasquez says
You are an amazing woman. Know that you have so many people praying for you.
Thank you for your daily blogs, they are very inspirational to us all. God is blessing you, us everyday and will continue to do so.
Really loved reading this post! Too bad I’m not living in Puerto Rico anymore. It would have been fun to send a journal there 🙂
Wow! I have tears running down my cheeks reading this. I too have had a bleed out in surgery when my eldest was only two. I appreciate your honesty, it certainly makes me feel more “normal” if there’s such a thing! Anxiety is a horrible horrible thing to live with. All the best with your recovery. I enjoy reading your blog all the way over in Australia.
Wonderful, heartfelt post.
I tried using the contact form to send my address (here in Australia), but it isnt working, you perhaps are receiving mmany contacts 🙂
I was really moved by this. I remember reading about your historectomy the first time you posted about the operation, and I cried. Sometimes it’s tough not to take things for granted. It’s also encouraging to know that your life hasn’t always been so full of positivity and energy! It gives me hope that I’ll be happy one day too, more or less 😛
I think your journal project is a fantastic idea! I try to find the time to journal but I always feel like other things get in the way. Hopefully one day I’ll be in a position to dedicate some time every so often to just create. Well. I guess I’ll just have to make the time.
Thanks for an inspirational post and an inspirational attitude!
All the best to you and your family,
My son and his girlfriend (now wife) started their own journal project a couple of years ago. They placed journals randomly around the college town they were living in. My son had a website where each recipient could sign in and register where the journal was: there was no “mail back when it’s full” option. It was fun to see how the journals traveled from place to place around the country before they slowly lost track of them. A nice random project of thoughtfulness. I pray your journals find meaningful places to be and help touch people in a special way. And I like that they may find their way back home to you.
Its funny how the path becomes so clear and the sacrifice so certain. I know each time I cry (its usually at church – my husband and oldest son always bring tissue in their pockets and explain “no one knows” to those around us) there is some unspoken agreement that seems to be taking place. Maybe its cleansing, releasing or just bravely facing what can no longer be avoided, whatever IT IS, I can’t seem to stop moving towards it… certainly hoping (and continuing to trust) it must be what is best for everyone.
You have learned what many take nearly a lifetime to learn, or sadly never do. After a horrendous 10 year battle to become a mom (and it was a battle, with my body, with a dishonest adoption attorney, with the changes in international adoption law, with family that questioned our decisions etc etc etc) I looked into the face of my daughter for the first time and everything flood over me…I was suddenly so overcome with gratitude and understanding…emotions that absolutely drained me because of their intensity…but in that moment I knew that God had a plan for me all along…I didn’t know it, but HE did and it was so simple and perfect and easy…once I let it be. You have actually inspired me…and I am seriously thinking about blogging now…though I don’t know the first thing about it…I feel compelled to share. LOVE the quote: “Life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it”…how true that is…so glad you reminded us of that today! Like you, I believe that God puts people in your path for a reason…usually I feel like there is something I need to learn from them…other times I think HE knows what I need when I do not. I’m so glad that you shared this…continued blessings!
Trisha MIller says
I loooooooooooooooooooooooove it!!! Man, what I could write in a journal….might be a book…….your words make me feel desperate to just grab you and give you a huge hug and cry with you…love you…
Grace Bower says
You are so right to create a project that connects us globally. I have a Venn diagram for people who Choose Joy. I have a Venn diagram of people who are journalling. I have a Venn diagram of people into self-care. I have so many different fb circles and your post is such a connector of those different circles. I intend to send it individually to people who I think would be in this circle for all these differnt reasons. Maybe this is why my website Wise To Life has been sitting waiting – 2012 is the year I get to action my dreams. 2011 was the year of Come alive at 65!!. Maybe – Join the mix at 66!! You and your patchwork of interests have been a significant part of my mix for the last couple of years – looking forward to seeing what you cook up? stitch together? blend anew? in 2012. Prayers and blessings to You and yours.
Tracie @ cleverlyinspired says
Oh I would sooooo love to be apart of this;) love the idea!
I look for your posts and quickly read them to see how you are doing? I loved this post and it was written so well that I could actually see and feel the person you were and are today. Life is full of changes and I love what you said about wishing you knew that life isn’t as hard as we make it. At 62 years of age I’m finally learning that but didn’t know how to put it into words. I will keep those words close to me as I go off the path trying to make life harder than it is.
Dara Lynn says
This morning, I heard the following……Tell your heart to beat again…..to dream again, to forgive again, to laugh again, to live again. Living with a chronic illness….I lost me along the way…..but to hear “tell your heart to beat again”….it was a life changing moment this morning. I so enjoy the joy and heart paddles you give me here on this blog to beat again….to laugh….to cry….to move forward. Thank you for giving of yourself….you have so much left to teach!
Tammy O. says
Wonderful, amazing, beautiful, caring, inspiring… Ashley that’s you!
Meagan Briggs says
I think some people are so afraid of hearing about reality and what some people go through in their life. I talk about you all the time to people when I bring up my molar pregnancy. It is amazing how people react to the whole situation and then they finally understand me, and maybe why I’ve been so “off” for the past little bit. I love that you post about your past and really reflect on things that have happened. You are such an amazing woman and it is the things in our past that have made us into who we are today. I know that this year has been terrible at times for me, and really emotionally challenging, and frustrating. I have learned to be patient and faithful and know that, in the end, this time in my life with be such a short moment. Love you Ashley. I am so grateful you are alive and able to share your story and your raw emotions.
hallie garrett says
Your such an amazing person, I have said it many times. Through some recent happenings in my life I thought to myself, I should write a book, maybe it will help some women. But the saddest thing to me is what I know the title would/should be and to know that I am not living the life that I see/saw for myself. Hmmmm, always interesting thoughts that consume my day on and off…..But I do see the bigger picture for myself and know things WILL be super awesome for ME!
My cousin is in Sierra Leon, Africa with her new baby boy and husband. They are there ministering and building wells. She has a blog and I am sure that she would love to write in your journal. She loves journaling. I pray for you and your family and am so inspired by your story.
This is her blog and I can give you her e-mail address too!
Amazing post…thank you so much!
When I read your posts I feel like I’m right there with you. Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry. Not crying for you but because you are so beautiful, brave and loving. I have included you as a part of my prayer group and I know God has a good plan for you. I’m sure your Dad has it all under control as Dad’s always do. I will be so honored if I am a recepient of one of your journals. Stay happy! Ruby
WOW…that’s the best 3 letters that I can come up with to describe what this post made me feel! I pray for you daily, you are an inspiration and I am so thankful God decided to keep you here! Thank you for being so open, it’s nice to hear such honest words. Take care and keep sharing.
Amy V says
I love this idea. I have been working this year on a program called “The Mindset for Success” with a professional coach. One of the disciplines I have started is writing in my journal every day. I have worked through some DARK parts of my life and are coming out the other side into the light of Christ. My journals have saved me from falling down the dark rabbit hole that I am just on the edge of. I pray one of your journals makes it’s way to my house. I also pray for your continued recovery and healing.
Shirley Clark says
Wow! Incredible post! Praying for you everyday. I know you are an inspiration to many.
Amber Vaughn says
Your words have inspired me.. Thank you. I love the journal idea it will be so neat.
Tanya B says
What a strong woman you have become. A wonderul post —
wish you never ending joy and the company of loved ones to share your existence with,
wish you strength as malleable and ductile and shiny and soft and dense as gold itself,
wish you calm and harmony with yourself and everything and everybody around (even the nobodys),
wish you fun-filled everydays Ashley, waiting for you to open your eyes to each morning …
i know you have all of that and more already 🙂
this post of yours … it feels like you are right here resting on a swing … thank you for sharing sweetie! you are indeed the bestestest everestest!!! 😀 😀 😀
Kristen Katula says
Wow….you are so inspiring! I am so thankful to have stumbled across your blog….I am learning so much from you. I have added you to my list of “people alive or dead that I’d like to have lunch with”. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story….I can honestly say it brings a whole new perspective on my life and makes me want to be a better person. I have worn my “Choose Joy” bracelet since it arrived yesterday and think of you each time I glance down. Covering you and your family in prayer.
Thank you! Will keep you and your family in my prayers.
WOW! Ashley thank you for sharing this with all of us. You are such an inspiration, I love reading your posts. I am praying for your continued recovery!
Melanie G says
i love the journal idea!
this post really spoke to me. I’ve struggled with depression, social anxiety and countless other things. the quotes you posted here really hit home. thank you so much for continuing to write. I hope it is as therapeutic for you to write it as it is for me (and others) to read it.
What a GREAT IDEA!!!!
Love your heart, your vulnerability, your creativity. Praying for you as God brings you to mind….
I am balling my guts up & praying that journal makes it my way. Beautiful.
I love this!!! My anxiety has always been secretly hidden…but came out like wild fire when we found out our daughter had a fatal genetic condition. I have been fighting it the last two years since she has been gone….Blogging has been my savior!
Sherri Adams says
We women are amzing creatures, aren’t we! Each and everyone of us. Ashley, you’ve just proven it in one of many ways. You shared YOU with all of us. We can cry together, laugh together and through it all, lift each other up. I think maybe it is our time to lift you up. To let you know that you are not alone in this life “test”, but instead, have many “sisters, mothers and grandmothers” to share the ups and downs with. We will pray, listen – and continue to listen and then pray more for you. One of the amzing gifts gave women was the gift of emotion and the simple fact we are not afraid to share it with one another. You are loved, Ashley, and we are all here.
One of two posts I’ve come across this year that I feel I will be a better person for having read. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.
Sherri Adams says
I just realized my fingers can’t spell when there are tears in my eyes.
You where meant to be on this planet, thank you for having a blog. Your blog is not only helpful to you, but to all that read it. Love the idea of the journals. Does your mind ever stop? I followed the link to Jenny. She is also an amazing woman. I shall add her to my wish list beside your name. As I wish for her all that she wants, needs, cares for in her journey.
thank you – you are such an amazingly beautiful person and by you sharing, you make me realize that our past does not define it only if we make that choice. I have tears in my eyes and my kids keep coming by my computer to hug me – many. many blessings to you Bev PS I hope Lisa isn’t mad about the office
marcie lenick says
you bless my heart! went to jenny’s site… i am praying for her. The dogs barking at nothing… we know there are angels there. God gives us what we need when we need it. HUGS GIRL!
Meredith M. says
I understand anxiety, worrying, perfectionism and trying to be everything to everyone so much that it makes day-to-day living hard. Thank you for reminding me through your blogging what is really important.
Dana Boyd says
You inspire me! You are an amazing and strong person! I so enjoy reading your blog, it is just so honest and real! The journal idea is beautiful!
I am so glad I read this. When you had your historectomy it was right after a major medical event for me. I had been having stomach pains for about six months. Then all of a sudden they were getting extremely bad and I was nervous that it might really be a heart attack. Then someone at work had a sister diagnosed with stomach cancer and she laid into me. Within 24 hours my pains were unbearable and I went to the ER. A scope showed my stomach literally disintegrating in three different sections! It would have been catastrophic if I had given it even one more day. It was a major process to put it all back together. My husband and kids brought me to the ER. When they showed me the pictures of my stomach I swear I felt even worse than it had when I arrived at the ER (if that was even possible). The picture looked like a grenade went off. So off to surgery I went and recovery has been a long one. I never get a chance to forget just how lucky I am and just how severe the impact of my loss would have been on my family. My six year old daughter is very traumatized and literally can no longer bear being without me for more than five minutes. She literally goes into a full blown panic attack. I pray she recovers soon because physically I have mostly recovered. Could it happen again? Absolutely. But I don’t dwell on that and if I get stomach pains I will obviously deal with it alot sooner. I really just figured it was stress and perhaps not enough rest. I always say life can change in an instant but it is remarkable that it REALLY can.
What a beautiful post! Life is amazing at showing us that we are not in control. I too almost died this year, I had developed severe pre-eclampisia and had to deliver my daughter 13 weeks early (just 2 weeks earlier my mom had died) my kidneys shut down as did my liver. Life flipped upside down, but just like you I now see life through a completely different perspective. Thank you for sharing your story!!,
Your words brought me to tears. There IS peace in knowing that loved ones are waiting for you in heaven and we will be reunited with them. You are an inspiration!
Thank you for sharing your experiences, Ashley, you’re a continual inspiration. I love the travelling journal idea, so often what we learn in life comes from random sources, I think the journals would be incredibly creative and uplifting.
God Bless You Ashley!! What an amazing post. You bring me Joy and you make me realize that what I’m experiencing in life is nothing compared to what you are going through. And here yesterday I was in so much pain and cried for hours because I feel weak and wanted to give up. My pain is only temporary, two to three weeks, but it’s just so bad that I’m tired of dealing with it. We all take things for granted and when we think we have it so bad, there is someone else out there who is going through much more than we are and they are so upbeat and positive. Thank you for saying so many things that I have thought or felt. I pray that you will be healed. You are so amazing!
Beth of designPOST says
I relate so much…the sense of seeing the bigger picture now and the lack of journaling after kids 🙂 Just keep pouring it all out and see where it takes you (and others)!
Psalm 139:16b – “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
This is my favorite Psalm. It is so rich. This time last year we thought my husband would be gone – havig succumbed to agressive cancer. He is here today and doing well – for now. Some day the cancer will take over and he’ll enter his “real life”.
I know that emotional sobbing you mentioned. It’s not fear. It’s saddness. Then I remember Who knows all my days. He knows all my problems, beginning, middle and end. He has promised good to me. That good will be for His ultimate glory.
Hold tightly to our Savior and when you can’t hold on He will.
xoxo – Norma
lisa jack says
Wow. Perhaps I need to start journaling my life to get rid of some baggage. I have many issues, one of which is being angry & taking it out on my lil ones.
So, this morning I woke up & one of my first thoughts “choose joy”. That along with church this morning helped make today a great day. Thx!
Kristina Busenitz says
I love your post and think it’s a wonderful idea. I hope one day the journal arrives at my door too. I would love to be forced to write something. I stopped writhing years ago maybe sometime in my late 20 s ( I am 44 now) somehow writing “made it real” and I wanted to be lost for a while… Now after my mothers unexpected death…. I think I need to make life “real” again for me
just wanted to say thank you!you have no idea how much you are influencing my life.I continue to pray for you and your family.
Angie G says
I love your post Ashley but especially this part “I slowly became less anxious, I stopped worrying about what other people thought about me. I spoke up and welcomed the consequences. I became more compassionate and I sought out people that were real and interesting. I cut ties with people who were toxic”… I don’t know you in a personal level, do feel that I connect with you in a lot of things!
You are such an amazing person. I was going to say that it sounds crazy but I feel a connection to you but as I have skimmed the comments others have made, I see that I am not the only one feeling connected. You are touching our lives. You are inspiring our lives. There is a reason that you are here and I am very glad to have found your blog.
i saw that someone else had posted their favorite Bible Verse and wanted to add mine, Jeremiah 29:11! “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Be Blessed Ashley! I really hope one of your journals find it’s way to my house!
Thanks so much for being a REAL person. Real to those around you, and real to those of us who follow your posts. Authenticity is hard to come by these days. I relish your honesty and it spurs me further to remain REAL!!
Thank your for never being ashamed to share your faith in GOD! HE and HE ALONE is the source that helps us “CHOSE JOY”
What an impact you are making for HIS kingdom!!
Bless you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I enjoy your blog but never really expected to get so much more than craft ideas out of reading your posts.
You have shared so many things so honestly and so bravely. I’ve shared your story with my husband and my friends, because it has touched me so much.
Thank you for all of this. I will continue to pray for you and I will continue to remind myself to CHOOSE JOY!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks for this post. I also journaled from the time I could write. It was the only way for me to process the world around me, but journaling suddenly stopped when My husband died from a brain tumor three years ago. I blogged during his illness which i felt replaced the journaling but after his death just stopped altogether. This blog entry has spoken to me on so many levels and brings me pains of grief but also joy. It is amazing how sometimes in the worst moments of life we can feel the most blessed.
I am so touched by your openeness, and the hope you’ve given me. I’m at a dark place right now, but I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel-and you have reaffirmed that truth. God bless you! Thank you, and keep on blogging, thriving, empowering, and changing us all for the better 🙂
Teresa N says
I have this lump in my throat like I have the need to say so much & yet not a single word comes out. Every word resonated within my core. And though my life experience are so very different from yours & yet in some ways so oddly similar, I understood exactly where you were coming from in that post. Our lives are our life journey & some of us get it sooner than others. Everyone has a story & the journal is such an amazing idea Ashley & I can only think of how much this brilliant idea will bring to others in ways that we could never imagine. Receiving one of these journals will be like finding the golden ticket. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. xxx
Yeah, what Ingrid said 🙂 Thank you, you are a beacon of light in this world!
You just made my day a lot brighter!!! Wishing you all the best.
I am a fairly new follower of yours and todays post made me so very glad I found you!
I went through breast cancer nine years ago, which resulted in a mastectomy and chemotherapy. So much of what you said rang so true in my life and what I went through. I have never written in a journal, but you have inspired me!! I am REALLY looking forward to the future posts. Thanks so very much for sharing your heart with us.
Southern Gal says
God numbers our days and no one knows how many days he has. What we do with those days is up to us. Your choice to start a new project and make new friends is such a blessing for all involved. You are brave. You are inspiring. Thank you for sharing it all with us.
P.S. I watched “The Heart of Christmas”last night and am still teary eyed from it. Your post is so timely for me.
You have touched more people than you will ever know. Thank you for opening up to us. I am so glad I found my way to your blog.
As always Prayers from Texas
Such a beautiful post, Ashley! You made me cry! I have become such a hypochondriac since my son was born. I never used to be that way. I don’t fear dying in and of itself but I fear dying because I don’t want to leave my son. I want him to grow up with a mother. You are so brave and you articulate perfectly many of my thoughts and fears. Thank you for sharing your life and journey with us. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers!
Crafting by Candlelight
Merci Ashley de toute cette générosité!!!
Things I have learned from you:
1. NEVER wear mascara when reading your blog.
2. The best time to look up and see the stars is in life’s darkest moments.
3. Be thankful. Be happy.
I am a single mom of 2 girls, recently divorced. My life has changed so much in the last year…and yet, I count my blessings every day.
I have ordered from you several times, LOVE your tutorials and for some reason, recently, I decided to visit your blog. I learned about your “journey” many weeks ago and have thought of you and your family every day since.
Yesterday, I was in church and you were fully present in my mind. I wrote choose joy on my bulletin. IMMEDIATELY after, our pastor said “Even though we are hard pressed, we are not crushed or destroyed”. A message that I felt I must share with you.
I said a prayer for your healing.
Even though your waters are tumultuous, your undercurrent is still peaceful. Thank you for demonstrating to us that even in the face of difficulty, we can CHOOSE JOY.
You are a remarkable human being.
Jennifer Goldberg says
You are amazing. And I know you will get through all of this bad stuff.
Thank you for your honesty and just plain telling it like it is.
Twins Squared says
Thank you for such a lovely post. You always help to put things in perspective and remind me of what is important. I often feel overwhelmed and need to remind myself to take a deep breath.
Allison cobb says
I recently found your blog and have read back through all of it. I really appreciate how real and open you are while going through so much. You remind me daily to be happier (don’t sweat the small stuff) and remember what’s important in life, thank you so much!
Leigh Ann says
I love reading your posts! You have no idea how many people you touch with your stories. You seem so real, fun and full of life. I only wish you were my neighbor because you seem like the kind of person I would love to have as a friend! It would be nice to have a friend with all the positive energy you have. Still praying for you! Thanks for sharing!
Heather G. says
Ashley, this is an amazing post! I’d love to read your memoir someday!!
THANK YOU for this wonderful post. I needed it more than you can imagine. I’m in my 20’s and also suffer from some of the same issues you’ve described and sometimes I feel so overwhelmed. I journal like crazy and it helps, I’m a tremendous lover of Steinbeck, a mother, and a perseverer (is that a word?). I really appreciate these words of wisdom, advice, and inspiration.
Thank you, thank you so much. You are an amazing person and I so admire all that you do.
P.S. I would love to receive a journal–what a beautiful idea.
Magnolia Mom says
What an awesome and so real post! Love the journal idea. Can’t wait to see/read more about it. I am so glad I found your blog!
Beautiful post…feeling every word of it!
Beth Morrow says
Your transparency has touched me tonight as I have read this post. I am praying for you and your family daily. Thanks!
Brooke in Aus :) says
Wow Ashley, you are amazing! I’ve been coming to LBB for a little while now for the projects, tutorials and life lessons. I am just in love with your outlook, your honesty and your creativity. I’ve had a peek back at your journal entries and see so much of myself in your work. I’ve spent the last 10 or so years at uni, at work, being a mother and have left a lot of the creative stuff behind… You inspire me to have confidence in my dreams and abilities, I feel like a kid again fantasizing about the possibilities! I want to get the balance right for me and my babies (3,2 & 9 months), so time is a luxury, but you have inspired me to FIND joy as well as CHOOSE it 🙂
Lots of love to you and your team x
I can relate to a lot of this, and I need to be reminded of it. Thank you for sharing. You’re inspiring!
Kristina Churchill says
I have started a journal as my mother in the last year is declining so fast…and I can’t write down quick enough all the things that have made me laugh, smile, cry, feel pride and joy or even anger because of her. The photos in the box, that I have been meaning to have her sit down and give me who and what they meant to her in her life, the story in her own words how she met my father, how they traveled to 3rd world countries in the late 50’s and early 60’s to help orphans, and how that changed my life, since they decided to adopt me, when they moved back to Chicago.
You have inspired me Ashley, with your kind words, quirky thoughts and true and undeniable love for your fellow human beings and your god. My thoughts are always with you and your family.
Giggle, Laugh, Cry and Love and always have Joy in your heart:)
Meredith Resnick From A Mother Seeking... says
You never cease to amaze me and inspire me. Thank You!
Meredith From A Mother Seeking Come find me on my blog, A Mother Seeking…
Everytime I read your blog, I cry. It amazes me how someone could be so strong. I was telling my mom your story the other day, and I teared up telling her what you have gone thru. I have a 4 yr old daughter as well and the idea of her being without me…..I cant imagine. You are a brave woman Ashley and you inspire me to look at the brighter side of life. Thank you! Youre amazing!!
Thank you. I am amazed that God can use a blog…of a woman that I don’t know…who is struggling with some very big things…to minister to me in such a deep way.
I would love to write in your journal.
You made me cry. Ashley, you are an incredible person! I hope I find someone as good as you in my life 🙂 I wish you the best now and forever!
I am not a cryer at all and I am hysterical over this wonderful post. All I can say is thank you for putting things in perspective for me. I am keeping you in my prayers. And I hope you will do the same for me.
There is so much I would say to you. Even though I’m in my fifties and you are much younger, I get it. I get you. I understand a lot, and wonder a lot too and that’s where the praying comes in. I’m a Mom. I’m a Grandma (Mimi) and someday you will be too. I’ve had tragedies in my life (the bulk of them this year) I’ve been reading you a long while, but I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment. I’ve been praying for you and your family, and I know that your Dad is so proud of how you are carrying on your life in spite of all you have been through. You are a wonderful beautiful example of a strong, sweet, beautiful woman.
You, my Darling, are a walking, living, loving, reading, “arting” (that’s my Grandson’s term), honorable, giving woman. You are a walking version of Phillipians 4:8. You rock.
Thanks for sharing such personal sentiments. You’re a very brave person.
My heart raced on this post, I couldn’t read it fast enough. Wow!
Such an amazing idea! I used to journal during the years I was struggling, and now when I look back at those pages I can recall exactly how I felt that day, it is so powerful. Can’t wait to see how the journals come back. I swear, you are brilliant. Much love,
I praise the Lord that He saved you, Sweet Ashley!!! I remember when Brett called crying almost hysterically that you were going into emergency operation for not a D&C, but to save your life bc you were hemorrhaging, Lisa was frantically calling to get the Elle and Boo situated so we could drive to Loma Linda. I looked at all the gallery of photos you framed on the hall of all of us and I burst out crying, ” God, PLEASE let her live. I cannot come back to this house knowing she will not be here again”. I am sooo grateful that you have another chance to keep going with the wonderful life you have. “This too will pass” and we shall behold lighter days as God takes us thru the valley of the shadow of death, we shall feel no evil…for He is with us!! We love you eternally, mom
Ginger Powell says
Its me again. Ginger Powell. Just want to say how encouraging this post is. I’m exhausted from treatment today but can’t stop reading your posts. I’ve recently started writing a journal too. Its been really helpful and healing. Reading about your stretches my imagination a bit more to think outside of the box. I’m so black and white, but I love loud color. Thanks for inspiring me.
I want to always remember this post….had to come back and comment again.
Patricia Donnellan says
Interesting. My husband said that I changed a lot after I started getting chemo. He said that I voice my opinion more and he thinks I am more agressive. I don’t think that I am more aggressive. I think that it finally really hit me that this is the life that I have right now. I will never be Patricia Donnellan again in any other life. So I finally decided to let my voice be heard. Not aggressive. Just a little louder. In a good way.
I will never forget this post….thank you
I’ve been following your blog for several months now, but have just taken the last week to read all of your posts from the beginning. As someone who battles with anxiety, it is so encouraging to hear from someone who has come out at the other end of a similar struggle.
Your happiness and spirit shine through in every post you write. Please know how deeply you touch and inspire others – the world is most certainly a better place because you are in it.
Hi Ashley. I just found your blog today for the first time, and I have spent hours reading your “Cancer Chronicles”… I have been choked up for the whole thing but when I got to this post I started sobbing. Like, I couldn’t breathe. I am someone who suffers from ADHD and anxiety disorder… and more often than not I find something to be negative about. I am always playing the victim. I just want to say that something really struck a chord here with me today, and it gave me hope that I can change the way I am because you did. I hope someday I can be as positive and as strong as you are. I understand that it all starts with a conscience choice of choosing joy (oh, I’ll be getting those bracelets!). Anyway, thank you because this is exactly what I was meant to stumble across today.
God bless, Emma