Monday Mama Montage Vol. 6

Hello lovely friends!

Please excuse my absence, my life has been a bit hectic; in a good way!  How the heck are you all!?  Gees when I haven't blogged in awhile I get serious withdrawals-is that normal?!?! :)

Lets start with things I am excited about for these fall months!   Next week I will be linking up with  Lauren over at: 34 Magnolia Street for: See below!

34 Magnolia Street
       Super stoked that she thought of this awesome idea.  I don't know about you, but I have countless books that have well beyond their weight in dust and are dying for me to crack them open.  This is a challenge to get those books out, read them, write about them, and learn about other books to add to the shelves.  I am super super excited to dig into this challenge- so get ready for Monday Mama Montage to share its day every first Monday of the month with a book review.  Check back here in a few days to learn about the books that I will be reading for the next few months!

     Its says Montage for a reason because another thing I am excited about is this:  Oh and keep watching until the guy comes up and starts talking!  You will get pumped!
    So this weekend some other BIG things happened, but first I must say  Thank you to those who prayed for my daughter for her night terrors.  They have subsided for the most part and I am a thankful Mama.  She has been going to bed a bit later and sleeping until 6:30am Hallelujah!

Without further Adieu: 

     Riley Mae is walking!  She is walking and it is crazy!  It looks so funny and strange and awesome and I literally cried the first time she did it!  Drew and I just sit in our living room and call to her and she walks back and forth to us and it is beautiful.  I am so stoked on this and so glad that she built up her confidence to do it!  It truly is amazing what happens in their first year of life.

   Motherhood this week is definitely shining bright and I am thankful for a lot.  Riley is walking, and sleeping in, and overall she is happier for it!  I am thankful to Jesus and those who prayed for that.

  Next on the agenda! Click Here:  The Influence Network.  This site has totally pumped me up!  I have been watching a seminar from one of the founders of The Influence Network on "Motherhood and Business" and have been so blessed by it.  I am about a third of the way through it and have been so stoked on it!  I have been realizing that yes Motherhood is a calling and I am doing it and being a Mom, but that it is not THE highest calling.  I am called as a believer to share the gospel.  To be light, to share hope.  Being a mother is a huge calling, an honor and I am blessed that I was able to bring forth life, however, I am called to do and be even more. To give even more of me.  I am called to serve the one true God.  That is awesome and it really helped my perspective a bit.

Whew!  Got a little carried away there! I am excited about alot,  Fall just gets me all jazzed up.  I can just feel hope and excitement in the air.

Have a blessed week and check back here in a couple of days!


Monday Mama Montage Vol. 5

Hello.  Happy Monday to you!   

Mama Montage will be short today because I really have been focused on one thing this week; Sleep.  Now Riley has been sleeping through the night consistently for over 6 months now with the occasional teething or sickness middle of the night wake up call.  But recently she has been waking up crying pretty intensely for no apparent reason.  I did a little research and found it to be night terrors.  Now the research pointed to sleep transitions being harder for babies, thus prompting a sudden emotion to startle them causing the abrupt waking.   All I know is that I do not want her to have to experience these anymore.  The first time it happened Drew and I went in her room and picked her up, but she didn't calm down right away. We started praying for peace and that God would be in the midst.   I mean, what else do you do when you have no communication whatsoever ever with your one year old, their screaming, you're kind of freaking out-you better believe we were praying!  So tonight I just want to pray for my daughter. It is times like this when things really feel out of my control that I draw closer to the Lord. I have learned a big lesson over the weekend form all of this and I am thankful that my faith has been challenged.  I just want my baby girl to not be afraid and to know that the Lord is protecting her.  Night and sleep can be a scary thing for a little one.  It is our job as parents to protect them and give them the mental tools to protect themselves.  Pray with me?

God, thank you for being with us always. Thank you God for sending your spirit to guide us and allow us to have full communication with you.  Tonight as my baby girl sleeps, I ask that you O Lord would fill her room.  Allow your angels to stand post on all corners of her room.  I speak your protection over her mind and ask that sleep would be so refreshing tonight.  Help her dreams to be filled with only thoughts and pictures of your greatness.  Allow her mind to draw near to you and to feel your sweet presence.  Help Drew and I as parents to guide and direct her in your ways.  Help us to remember to pray and ask.  Thank you Lord for who you are.



Wellness Wednesday: How to Battle Anxiety

Googled: "Anxiety quotes"

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". Phil 4:6-7

Googled: "Anxiety Bible verses"

Anxiety: "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome."

Googled: "Anxiety definitions"

  This topic of anxiety is very near and dear to me because I have anxiety, and most people if not all have struggled or dealt with some form of anxiety in their lifetime.  I chose to write about it because I have been feeling a little more anxious lately.  I wanted to be real and honest and as raw as possible about why I think I am anxious and solutions that I have found very helpful.  

  I wanted to start with physical symptoms of knowing I am anxious and maybe some other symptoms you or others may have experienced.

1 Increased heart rate while resting  
 2. Sweating in air conditioning
3.  Clenched teeth
 4. shortness of breath
5.  upset stomach
 6. headaches
7. Insomnia

  When something is bothering me or I am nervous about a future conversation or gathering, I experience some of these symptoms.  Now, not all of these symptoms mean you have anxiety.  These are general physical symptoms that may be signs of anxiety. Physical symptoms are a good thing!  What?!?!  These signs and symptoms are your bodies way of warning you that something is not right.  Some part of your brain and thinking is off balance and you need to fix it!

Ex: 1

  I needed to attend a gathering with some friends and needed a babysitter for me daughter.  The person I originally assigned to the job did not have much experience yet with watching her.  A day before this event I had many of the signs that I was anxious and something was not sitting with me well.  I had the sweating, the increased heart rate, and probably the clenched jaw.  I knew that I was uneasy about the situation, but I was also upset and nervous to tell the person that truth when I had already told them they could watch her.  Needless to say I figured it all out and took care of business.  

Small example yes but the point was that your body will tell you when something is not right and not sitting well with you.  Now I have definitely experienced situations that proved a lot harder to handle than this one, but I still learned and grew.

Moving on to some deeper issues. Cognition.  What thoughts or feelings are signs of anxiety?

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling tense and jumpy
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Watching for signs of danger
  • Feeling like your mind’s gone blank

The day before the event I was feeling tense and restless about my decision. I knew I needed to change something so that I felt peace.  And I did.

Now that I gave that warm-up example I am going to write for another couple minutes on why I think I have been feeling more anxious lately: Here goes-

I have been taking on more at home.  Balancing things at home and making sure I am doing everything I can to be all I can be takes its toll.  I worry that I am going to mess up.  I worry that I am not parenting Riley well enough, that maybe I need to be teaching her more, reading to her more, or whatever else I think.  I have another side business that I do not put enough time into and I worry that my husband will think that I do not care about it or the ways he has set it all up for me.  I get anxious thinking about having hard conversations with people that I care about.  Restless feelings when I don't say or act on things I am feeling or thinking.  I want to be spending more time reading the Bible, but I fear more unanswered questions will arise or that I really will encounter Christ in a real way and it will change me!  Whew!  That was raw and uncut people.

Wow!  Okay well I am going to share my personal solutions.

Here are my solutions:

Planning ahead and thinking rationally and practically.
  • Honestly, as easy as that sounds I struggle with putting my emotions and excited thoughts aside to make rational practical decision.  This is something I have to work on.  I use google calendar and it has helped me so much!
Praying and practicing courage
  • I believe a huge contributing factor to anxiety is fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of inadequacy, fear of not doing enough, not being enough, not being who you are made to be. (Told you we were going deep!) Be courageous sisters and thyself!
The quotes I had at the beginning of the page were general quotes all from google. What I found interesting in my search were how many quotes were focused on self reliance.  Well I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure we were not meant to do life alone. We are not meant to fight anxiety within our own minds.  My top solution lies heavily in the biblical quote I gave:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". Phil 4:6-7

The Lord hears us and wants community with us.  He wants us to bring our requests and our anxiety filled thoughts to Him. To find community where we can share these thoughts, help one another out practically and leave the rest with the Lord.  I whole heartedly believe that anxiety can be greatly lessened in our day to day lives when we practice the above ideas, sit with the Lord alone, and be vulnerable and transparent in a trusted community.

If you do not believe in the Lord and are interested, shoot me an email and I would love to help and answer questions that you may have. Lets band together as sisters and help one another out.  We are all living life, we might as well do it together and THRIVE while we are at it!

I would love to hear what ways you will try to fight anxiety and maybe even free write for a few moments something that is causing anxiety in your life.


Monday Mama Montage Vol. 4


This week my Monday Mama Montage is linking up with When At Home and A Mama Collective for "Currently." This is where we talk about what we are currently up to in life and share with other bloggers the happenings in the day to day stuff :) Please join me in some ramblings :)

Thinking about --How I feel terrible for not having enough patience with my daughter. I mean look at her how can I not have patience!? She recently turned one, and also turned into this little throwing fit monster.  It has been hard knowing how to react to her little tantrums because I have never experienced one before.  I am sure this is mild to many, but to me, it is new and I am trying to understand what and how to react in a mature and productive manner.

Thankful for--health.  I want to be thankful in seasons where my family has healthy bodies. What a damper and change of attitude when we are sick. The way a cold or the flu can completely alter your week and the outlook of it. I am just grateful for this season of health and want to take a moment to thank The Lord.

Enjoying--learning about blogging, and the ins and the outs of this awesome community.  I started my blog for an online baby book for my daughter, and it has turned into so much more than that. I feel so passionate about blogging and all that encompasses it.

Loving--a daughter who sleeps through the night...she has been for over 6 months but I'm just saying. It's a glorious thing. Also loving She Reads Truth. This online beautiful Jesus loving community is awesome. Every morning I get an emailed devotion from a group of very talented biblical women to my inbox where I am led and filled up.  Check it out.

Reading--Ministering Cross-Culturally by Sherwood Lingenfelter. Such a sweet rad book so far.

What are you currently up to?


Why I blog.

      It dawned on me that I have not actually written down why I blog. I have verbalized it to my friends and family, but have not actually sat down and written about it.  So....here it is.

Why I blog:
      I blog because I love to write. Since I can remember I have always had journal.  A place where I could write down my thoughts and the days activities. I could always express myself through written words.  Journaling was a way that I could really understand what I was feeling and thinking and allowed me to tangibly look back on growth in my life.  Now you may ask why not just keep my thoughts to myself in my own journal? Good question. I originally started the blog when I became pregnant and really wanted to look back on the pregnancy for myself and for my daughter Riley. It was my own online baby book.   Well it has definitely evolved in to a lot more; and I am thankful.  

       I blog because I care. I care about being inspirational, and I care about helping and serving others.  The online blogging community is amazing.  I have been able to connect with people that I may have never met otherwise,  and likewise people that have read my blog have been able to connect with me.  There is a huge community of women in the blogosphere that need encouragement, that want to give encouragement, and those looking to see how others 'do life."  I want to share my life and my experiences because they matter, and God has brought me through many things that I know will help and inspire others.

       I blog to be balanced.  When I sit down to write I get so excited.   When I get that space in the evenings to write, I feel centered; whole.  The day floods through my mind and I can reflect on where my heart is.  When I know where my heart lies, I can know myself better. Thus knowing  how to connect with my husband better, my friends, daughter and family.  I can live more productively and positively when I have reflected and learned from the days joys and trials.

      I blog because I am passionate.   I am passionate about so many things in life and I want to know them more and I want others to know too! I am a writer and blogging is what I do.

      What are your passions in life? Are you going after them?


Monday Mama Montage Vol. 3

   My beautiful baby girl turned one on Saturday. She is now considered a toddler.  How can this be? She was just a newborn like yesterday.  I am in shock that she even turned one, and  now I have to tell people I have a toddler. Wow.  How quickly life can move and how quickly little Miss Mae is growing.
  Her birthday party was quite the event I must say.  We celebrated her birthday at a park nearby and did not go light on the guest list.  We wanted all who are apart of our lives and who have helped us with this transition in life to be there with us.  Riley turning one IS a big deal and I was so ecstatic with the turn out in guests.
   The one and only Costco catered our party with their wonderful croissant sandwiches, accompanied by stater bros potato salad and Macaroni salad.  At anytime having 20+ people it just makes sense to get it catered.  I have learned being the host has enough responsibilities leading up to that day that adding food to that just doesn't make sense.
  We brought two extra tables for the food and the cake. 
 I did a simple balloon and tissue paper decor which complimented the venue well.  I had reserved 2 hexagonal picnic shelters that each had 4 tables. 
   One table was dedicated to gifts, while another was set up with butcher paper so the kids could draw to their hearts desire. 

   I also set up a play area for all the babies coming coming who were under the age of one.  It was a huge hit!  

 Riley so excited with her new wheels!
 And of course a little promo for my new favorite brand: "B. You"

I am so blessed by all the people that came and supported and celebrated with us.  The Lord has led us this far and has allowed us to care for Riley. I am forever grateful to the Lord.


Number 1 // Gratitude {Part Two}

My precious bundle of joy is going to be ONE tomorrow. I am beyond thrilled and so thankful that we made it! I made it! This family made it! Yes this is one small year, but it has been a big one for me and I am thankful for so many reasons:

1. We are alive! Praise Jesus
2. Riley has been a healthy girl this year (a little asthma, but nothing to complain about)
3. I love staying home with her
4. Looking back at pregnancy and being thankful how well it went
5. Learning about Riley and just being so in love
6. Being able to see more glimpses of God's great love for His children through loving Riley.
7. Getting through those first three months with a newborn, when it felt unbearable at times
8. Seeing God work and growing and stretching me
9. Seeing the importance and the honor of praying for her
10. Having family that has loved and supported us through this last year.

Jesus is so good to us and all that I have is because of Him. I am just thankful and I am excited to celebrate with friends and family tomorrow!
This just says "God is good"



"And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! - Matthew 6:28-30

I am thankful.  Today is good, and I want to give praise to The Lord in this very moment. He takes care of me and I am thankful.  I have family who cares for me, I have a healthy daughter who is about to turn one. I have an amazing husband who provides and is awesome. Lord you are awesome!

Thank you Jesus.


Wellness Wednesday: Soul Care

     When was the last time you connected with a friend? What about the last time you really paused and reflected? Today I want to talk about:

Soul Care

I know when I am in the midst of crazy it is challenging to pause and take care of my soul.

Soul care is defined by David Benner as this:"the support and restoration of the well-being of persons in their depth and totality, with particular concern for their inner life. Soul care is done in the context of community."

I like this definition simply because of the very last statement- "in community."  I know for me personally, soul care is done with those whom I love and trust.  Connecting with a person on a soul level, a deep personal level in which you are safe and understood.  Soul Care is being intentional with yourself and caring for yourself to the point that you schedule time to spend with those people that care deeply and passionately about you.  If you do not have people like that in your life, you need to get them.

Let's be honest, we all fail in this area. But if we really knew the impact soul care had, I think we would do it more.   I like the analogy of thirst.  When our bodies are thirsty and we crave a refreshing beverage, we are dehydrated, which causes all sorts of other symptoms.  Thirst is a trigger that we have gone too long without hydrating. It is a bad thing in one sense.  This is comparable to soul care. When I am off balance in life, it is because I did not connect and decompress in some way.

You have to find ways to keep your soul cared for- Here is a list that I compiled that I think will help:

  1. Schedule time with friends
  2. Journal your thoughts
  3. Learning about Jesus and His character
  4. Spending time  worshipping The Lord 
  5. Serving others


Monday Mama Montage Vol. 2

Welcome friends!

       September here you are again.  Oh how funny it is that this day is considered the 'end' of summer in most places. But oh southern California you always amaze me with your 100+ degrees well into "fall;" whatever that is. :)  Trust me, I am not complaining, I love sunshine, I just think its funny.

How was your Labor Day?!?!?!?

Please comment below with any fun things/or traditions you have on this holiday.

       Mama Montage is here again and I am excited to share some ideas and thoughts on Motherhood.  I had quite the busy weekend.  We had party planning, baby watching, birthday parties, gift buying, lots of driving, laughs, heart to hearts, family time, and new friends.  Oh and I cannot forget dancing!  I will definitely give more detail on these birthday parties and dancing awesomeness later, but I want to focus on one particular conversation that came up that sparked all of the thoughts below.

      Advocacy.  What does that mean?  What does it look like worldwide, and what does it look like in a family?  Well here is a general definition: 

Advocate: "one that pleads the cause of another; one that supports or promotes the interests of another."

      I am a mother to my beautiful baby girl; I am her advocate by default.  I will be the one to plead her cause and stand beside her when she feels alone.  I will support her in all circumstances, and she will come before anyone else in my life.  Now, what if I told you that I was not good at being an advocate?  What if my default is to think of myself?  What if my Mama Bear instincts to take over and be Riley's protector and voice fails and I don't know how to be that for her?  

    Things in life are learned.  The biggest learning period is from birth until one leaves the nest.  In that period the most fundamental character shaping traits are formed in a person good and bad.  Sometimes being an adult means learning certain character traits one might not have learned on your own.  

    I want Riley to know and see that I am her number one fan, I am her advocate and will do things for her that no one else can or will.  I will lift her up and praise her, and I will be on my knees praying with and for  her.  I want her to know that I believe in her and that I care.  Being an advocate to her means listening to her, guiding her life because I can see further than she can, disciplining her in a fair manner that teaches her to think on her own feet and to have trust in me.  

    When I think of being her advocate, her Mama Bear, her spiritual leader with Drew, I... am.... SCARED!  I know that I am going to fail, and I know that she will be damaged at some points in her life, but I want to be these things for her.  I will try so hard to be different and to grow, so that she will know these things.   Parents make mistakes; I have already made too many to count.  But the fact is this: I love Riley, I work on myself for me and for Jesus, and to be a better mother and wife.  All that is in between is day to day trials, the ups and downs, the monotony and the thrills.  I am a mother who wants to be Mama bear but sometimes feels like Mama turtle.  (Or another animal that is complete opposite of a bear. haha. )  I will work hard at being me. Being Ashley.  Being like Jesus. When I model my life after Him I become those things.  He is the great advocate, he is Papa bear.  He is gentle and strong, and that is what I want.

I found this verse, and although I pulled it out of context I still really like it and love that this is in the bible.  I feel like its a "just do it" verse.  I love that the verse doesn't have some disclosure that if you didn't learn how to do those acts then "its okay don't worry." No! Go and do it!  Jesus is really smart.  Let's be like Him ya?

Proverbs 31:8-9

"Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy."

   It is called a Montage for a reason folks!  A big huge mess of words, live and raw!