This one’s for the hubs…

All I can say is I am blessed by my husband.  Coach isn’t perfect, and I don’t expect perfect.  In fact, I hold little expectations of my husband.  Most of you are thinking, “Wow…that isn’t saying much about him and your relationship.”  Hear me out though…if I don’t hold expectations of his actions and reactions, then I never have to be disappointed.  It isn’t fair for me to set the bar too high.  If I expect an extravagant surprise for Mother’s Day in the form of a week long vacation to a tropical paradise, I’m setting myself up for disappointment because that isn’t the reality of our lives.  We are teachers, we have children, and many responsibilities.  However, had I held this expectation, and Coach not done something so grand, I would have been unhappy with what he did give me.  I would have cheated myself and my husband out of the joy that was there.  Make sense??

Obviously, I hold expectations in the sense of my husband’s character, but I try very hard not to hold any in terms of actions and reactions.  I’ve found that this always allows me to feel the true joy of the moment.  With that being said, I will tell you that my hubby has done some pretty awesome things for me lately.  Sunday, we will be travelling to New Orleans to see Garth Brooks in concert.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love Garth Brooks!  This is a huge deal for me!  I am pumped y’all!!  And it doesn’t end there…at the end of the month, on my birthday, we are going to stay at the Myrtles Plantation!  It is one of America’s most haunted homes (insert creepy music).  I’ve toured the plantation during the day as a kid, and ever since I have wanted to stay there and really get the full experience.  Aside from the scare factor, the history of the place is pretty amazing, too.  Both of these are bucket list items I can now scratch off.  The concert was a bit of surprise to me, but I had not a clue about the stay at the Myrtles Plantation.  Coach did good didn’t he!

Yes, my hubby has gifted me with two great experiences lately, but please understand that is not why I am blessed by him.  Those are just bonuses! 😉  The real blessing is in his character.  He is a wonderful father to our girls; very involved.  He is a loving, respectful husband who always thinks of me before himself.  He works hard to provide for us, all while being an amazing example to all of our adopted daughters (those are our softball players).  He is a good friend to all, with a helping heart.  Above all, he is a man of God.  I am so thankful that god designed him with me in mind.

❤ Ashley

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my #1!  I love my husband to the moon and back, and am so blessed to be able to say that today marks 6 years of marriage for us.  Marriage can be such a blessing!  I know that God made my husband just for me.  I could not have asked for better.
 
Marriage is not always easy.  Sometimes it is hard.  But we have to remember that it’s the hard times that strengthen the relationship.  Coach and I have been through some tough times, and will continue to go through tough and stressful things, but we will do it together, with God.  Between his coaching and being away, and our infertility issues…we’ve got stressers people!  We are not perfect!  Some days I just want to cry because I get so tired of the stressers in our lives.  But I am so blessed to have a Heavenly Father who helps my husband and I navigate the hard days.  I am likewise blessed to have a husband who walks through the hard things along side me, and when I need, one who walks ahead of me.
 
I pray that my daughter will one day have a husband who can do the same for her.  I pray that they will have a marriage that honors God.  A good marriage is a true blessing to a family, as a whole, as well as the individuals.  In our society today, we don’t value the sanctity and unity of a marriage like we should.  But regardless of what society hold true to, I want my family to stand as an example.

How We Raise Our Daughter

Oh yes, you already know this is going to be an interesting topic.  Just look at the title, right!  I know a ton of people who will read this and think we are nuts, but guess what…you’re not the first, last, or only.  However, I felt it was important to be clear on where our family currently stands on some things.  I do not intend to offend anyone, and nothing is directed at anyone, this is just my usual honesty is the best policy.  I like to be very open about who I am and what my family stands for…or against.  I use to be a sugar-coater, heavy on the sugar, but God has truly changed my life in that area.  So, if your up for reading this great…if not…that’s good too.  I understand either way.  You may agree with me on some things, and on others you may leave this article wanting to disassociate with me.  I hope the latter isn’t true, but I’m not writing this for any certain person or group of people, I’m writing for myself, my family and God.

So, here are a few of our thoughts as we continue the journey of parenting in our home, in our way.

  1. We strive to base all of our parenting off of God’s word and his will for our lives.
  2. We do not dote on outward beauty, but inward.  What girl doesn’t like to hear how pretty she looks?!  However, we strive to not always comment our daughter on that, and we prefer others not too as well.  Comment on her attitude, her heart, her personality, her desire to serve, her love of God, etc.  We want to point out the qualities in her that truly matter.  The ones that God laid in her heart, the ones that will guide her as she grows, not the ones the world seems to practically worship now days.
  3. We don’t do sleep-overs with friends.  Sorry, nothing personal!  At this time we do not believe it is wise to send our daughter off to other homes over night.  Growing up, when I went to sleep overs, we had a great time…a great time gossiping, discussing boys, and other things we probably should NOT have been talking about.  We desire to guard our daughter’s heart as long as possible and to the best of our abilities.  We aren’t saying your home isn’t fit for our child, or that your child is a bad influence.  We just know from experience that it opens doors to things we don’t want our daughter getting caught up in, especially at such a young age.  They are only small for so long.  We believe we need to cherish that time and spend as much of it together has a family as we can.
  4. We do not do ‘boyfriends’.  We desire our daughter to enter into an appropriate boy/girl relationship the way God intended it to be, which is often referred to as courting.  We pray often about this.  We do not want to see our daughter caught up in relationships and the dating world that so many young people enter into.  Even at the age of six, we talk about appropriate friendships with boys, but that God doesn’t desire for us to have boyfriends/girlfriends at such a young age.  We pray that our daughter will choose God’s way for her life, and as she gets older, be able to form healthy, pure friendships with the opposite sex and share with us any interest in a friend she might one day have.  In turn we also pray for her future spouse, and any courting relationship that she might have.
  5. We believe it is important to teach self-control from a very early age.  We never allow an excuse for bad behavior.  Yes, we might be hungry and tired, but we have to have self-control at all times.  No bad mood is every an excuse for being ugly or disrespectful.  Now, do we expect our child to be perfect?  NO WAY!!  Even mom and dad are cranky some days.  However, that is never an excuse worthy of that behavior.  As our daughter has grown she has gotten better at this, and will continue to do so.  She will never be perfect, we simply try to train her to be pleasing to God.  (This is just one character value we teach in our home.  There are many equally important ones.)
  6. We homeschool and believe in it 100%.  Maybe it isn’t right for you and God has not called you to this lifestyle.  For us, it is a calling from God.  A very distinct calling!  So please, respect that just as we respect others choice to not homeschooling.  If you think we are crazy…that’s okay…we don’t mind that.  (lol)
  7. Sometimes we have to tell you ‘no’.  Unfortunately, there are times that we have to tell friends ‘no’.  We just can’t spend every available minute at birthday parties and other functions.  As fun as they are, and as much as we hate to have to say no, we do.  Our family comes second to God, and if we’ve been busy lately and we get invited to gatherings, or a birthday party, we have to decline.  We have to invest our lives in each other and our daughter before we can fully invest your life.  Otherwise, we are doing no one justice.  Know we are celebrating with you in heart and spirit though!
  8. Please discipline our child if you see the need.  We believe it takes a village.  If you see my child misbehave, please correct her behavior.  Of course we expect it to be done with a loving heart as God calls us, but it definitely needs to be done.  Leaving bad behavior uncorrected tells a child that it is acceptable.  That is never okay.  God calls us as parents to discipline our children.
  9. We currently have cable television in our home.  However, my husband and I are prayerfully considering removing it.  Just because we have it doesn’t mean it is a free-for-all.  We try as best we can to set time limits on our daughter’s viewing, and we definitely set rules in terms of what she is viewing.  We too strive to abide by the rules that if it isn’t appropriate for her eyes, it isn’t for ours either.  Unfortunately, television has gotten so corrupt today we feel it may being doing families more harm than good.  There are many “kid” shows we do not allow in our home because they are not truly meant for children, nor do they represent any of the qualities we strive to teach.
  10. We strive to keep an open line of communication.  We believe that our daughter should be able to freely, and honestly talk to us about anything.  Likewise, we are always very honest with her and strive to always give her wise counsel.

I hope I didn’t scare you away with all of that, but I’m sure it gives you a little bit better idea of who our family is, and what we are all about.  Parenting is never easy and we are all just trying to do our best.

God Bless!

Social Media War Zone

Holy Moly!  If you haven’t logged into facebook today, consider yourself lucky….and just steer clear for a while.  When the hubs logged in this morning it looked like a full on war zone, one of the 21st century for sure.  If you have been on facebook today, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  For those who don’t, here’s the scoop of what’s going on.  Many people on facebook have changed their profile photos to a red square with a pink equal sign.  Others have changed their photo to a red square with a pink cross.  Some have opted not to partake at all, while others are bombing the newsfeed with quotes, photos, verses, etc.  Here is why:  that red square with a pink equal sign means that the person supports human rights.  Sounds innocent, I know, but in 21st century terms, human rights means gay marriage.  So there appears to be a war going on between gay marriage supporters and their opposition.  I’m sure this social media war is going on all over the internet, not just on facebook.  I can’t tell you that for sure, because I’m not a big tweeter, and haven’t done much internet surfing today.  But you can bet it has spread…quickly.  I have to tell you….I’m not interested in it.  Let me be honest with you here.  I do not believe in gay marriage.  I do not believe it is God’s design for us to be gay, lesbian, homosexual, bi-sexual, etc.  I believe he designed us in his own image, to be man and woman.  For men to be attracted to women and women to men, exclusively.  The end!  However, I believe God created us, giving us free will, meaning we get to make our own choices in life.  Ditto!  You choose to believe what you want, and I do the same.  Yes, I am a christian and strive daily to please God.  That does not give me the right to judge you.  Yes, I am saved, but no I am not perfect and never will be in this life.  I will only become perfect in God’s eyes once I have been judged and enter heaven to live eternally.  I believe every follower of Christ should stand up for what’s right in God’s eyes, and live to be an example.  That does not mean we allowed to judge or condemn anyone to hell/death.  Only God holds that power.  I will be judged just like everyone else, and being I’m not perfect, I feel like I have enough to worry about.  I have no desire to judge your life.  I have enough responsibility on my shoulders in keeping myself and my family in line, and trying to be a Godly example to my daughter.  Do I wish every person would turn from sin and follow Christ?  Of course!!  I love people, and I love God, but I realize that not everyone will choose God.  He knows this….he designed it this way. 
 
So, basically, enough is enough!  Get over it people!  The world will never be in agreement on things, so stop getting your feelings hurt and being vindictive.  Stop fighting and complaining!  If we could all get over ourselves and our own insecurities, we might just be able to make a little progress and make the world a better place.  There will always be someone there to judge you, there will always be someone there who puts you down or makes you feel insecure or wrong.  You make your own choices.  It’s fine to have your own beliefs and opinions, and it’s fine to voice them if you choose to.  I do.  And you can choose to listen to my beliefs, or you can choose to ignore me.  It is your choice, and mine likewise.  So what is the big deal?!  Why do we need to fight?!  Why have this stupid social media war over sexuality?!  Honestly, how ridiculous does that sound?!  Ask yourself that!  Take a step back, and ask yourself.  Shoving your beliefs down someone else’s throat is not the answer.  However, if someone is sharing how they feel/what they believe….they aren’t trying to shove it down your throat.  That’s your own inner issues.  Instead of lashing out and threatening to ‘unfriend’ people, be mature and deal with your issues.  Mature adults can talk about these issues without all this hoopla and bickering. 
 
I realize that some of you may read this and be offended by what I’m saying.  I’m sorry if you are, but it’s my little piece of the world and my beliefs.  I’m not pushing anything on anyone, or making any accusations.  I’m giving my thoughts.  If you don’t like it…sorry.  If you’re mad and offended at my blunt honesty….I hope you can work that out because that is not my goal in writing this.  I am just tired of the world we’ve created.  No one is entitled to anything, and no one is better than anyone else.  When I think something ugly about a person, or think of an ugly word when I slam my finger in a drawer, I am sinning.  My sin is just as big as the murder sitting in jail.  You might think that statement is a bit extreme, but it’s the truth.  Sin is sin in God’s eyes.  But it’s the spoiled attitudes that bring about the social media wars like the one we’ve witnessed today.
 

Super Stinky Imperfection

Unfortunately I experience many days where my duties as mom, wife, cook, maid, daughter, and friend are mere lackluster performances.  I want so badly to be totally awesome and rock my duties every single day, but that just isn’t reality.  And lets face it…some days just really stink for us ladies.  Some days we totally rock….and some days we don’t.  It’s the really stinky days that get me down the most.  I’m sure all moms can relate to that.  Let’s face it, the devil thrives on stinky days in the lives of moms.  He knows that so many of us judge ourselves too harshly, and feel that we need to be perfect moms, teachers, wives, chefs, friends, etc.  So he loves to sneak up on us during our stinky days and assist us in tearing ourselves down.  I say assist because if we’re being honest we can admit that so many of those negative thoughts about ourselves, start with ourselves.  The devil likes to light a fire under those thoughts.  He doesn’t want us to feel worthy of our children, or our husbands, or our titles, or all that we’ve been blessed with.  He just doesn’t want us to be happy.  He can easily cause that stinky day to spill over into the next week if we aren’t careful.  No one is perfect!  No wife is perfect!  No mom is perfect!  And guess what…that is okay!  Ladies, we don’t have to be perfect.  If your kids didn’t get breakfast this morning and you sent them to school with a pb&j rather than the healthy meal you intended to prepare….it is okay.  If you ordered pizza for dinner because you were too tired to cook supper for the family tonight…it is okay.  If your laundry is piled ten stories high and you’ve been washing the same load for the past three days because you keep forgetting its in the washing machine…it is okay!  It is okay to be imperfect!  God did not create us to be perfect or to always do things best.  If he had, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  Love you!  Love your imperfect self and have fun doing it.  I know sometimes that is really hard to do, but we have to grow to a place where we know that it is okay and we are loved no matter what.

So, for those super stinky days we tend to have, The Far From Perfect Mommy Blogger has some great motivation!

God Bless!  & remember…YOU ROCK!!!

Constant Reminders From Above

Here is the entry I wrote the other day when I came across my entry on contentment.  God is soo good!!

Jan. 8, 2013

Thank you Lord for your constant reminders and reassurance!

Today was the first time I’ve read my Sept. 24the entry since the day it was written; and what a sweet reminder it was for me.  It reminded me that I need not worry and God has provided.  Since September we sold our home and Justin got a new job at Rapides, which he loves.  We also were able to get into a very affordable rental, and received double the amount expected from the sale of our home.  This enabled us to pay off a very large debt we were carrying.  So, needless to say, God answered our prayers in ways much larger than we could have ever imagined or prayed for.  (Makes me wonder what he has in mind in regard to our prayer for more children!?! )

God often answers our prayers in the most unexpected ways, when we least expect it.  Sometimes I think that is the best part of my daily Christian life.  I’m always eager to see what God is going to do next, and he always leaves me in awe.

 

 

Wow!  Isn’t God good y’all!  We never could have imagined that everything would work out exactly how it did with coach’s job situation, the house, finding a rental, paying off debt, etc.  We could never have planned it all to work out as wonderfully as God did.  We are still working on the debt, but God as certainly answered our prayers.  Back in Sept. we had three major prayer requests for God: 1. A better work environment for my hubby  2. Our home to sell so we could follow through on our commitment to live God’s way  3. That he give us more children.  There were other (smaller) requests during that time, but those were the big three.  I expected God to work and answer us, but never the way he did.  God answered 2 of those big three requests right off.  I mean, who am I that God would answer two major prayer requests of mine.  Because the truth is, although those were “big” requests for us, in comparison to what others around the world were dealing with, they were nothing.  Yet God still showed up.  God is always workings.  We never have to worry about tomorrow because the truth is He is already there.  What a blessing that is to know!

A Lesson in Contentment

I wanted to share with y’all a journal entry I came across the other day that I hadn’t shared with you and forgot I had written.  The entry from the day I found this one will follow.

Sept. 24, 2012

Thank you Lord for showing me what it means to be content in you.  Thank you for the peace you bring in the midst of life’s roughest storms.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”                                                                                               – Philippians 4:12-13

You could almost say that those two verses were our sermon Sunday.  Truth be told, they were.  There was more to it, but for my heart, that sums it up pretty well.  If you would have asked me last week if I was content with my life, I would have answered, “Yes!”.  I then would have gone on a little about why, and then I would have thrown in a very tiny ‘but clause’ at the end of that reasoning.  I would have said, “I love our home, but we would like to make a few changes.”…or…”My husband makes decent money, but we could really use more.”…or…”I love and adore my precious daughter, and we are so thankful for her, but we would love to have more children.”   See what I mean?!  Those answers do not sound like something you would hear from someone who is content.  I really thought I was, but man did God open my eyes to the truth.  So my prayer Sunday was this:

“Lord, I haven’t been content.  I thought I was, but now I see the truth.  Thank you for opening my eyes to your truth!  I want to be content, God.  I come before you, laying it all at your feet.  I give my worries, Lord.  I give you our finances.  I give you my husbands job situation.  I give you the sell of our home.  Lord, I give you our fertility issues.  I’m letting go, Lord.  Your will is my heart’s desire.  I will be content in you.  I will trust you, and I will be faithful.  Thank you for what you’ve done for me and my family, Lord.  Give us wisdom to always follow your truth and your will.  Amen.”

Letting go of all of those things felt empowering.  It’s something I struggled with God over for a very long time.  I know struggles will still arise, but I know that God has it under control.