Marriage and Motherhood……My Journey

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As I lay here watching my husband play with our daughters I think about how much marriage and motherhood have changed me. We all grow up with ideas of what kind of wives and mothers we want to be. We develop these ideas from the women in our lives, our mothers who remind us to always smile and be gentle, our grandmothers who remind us the importance of caring for your home, Aunts who show us how to have fun and many others. But I am thinking how different I am now from what I always pictured.

I was raised in a busy, loud, not perfect but loving home. My mother divorced my father when I was young, too young to remember, my father was not a part of my life as a child or teenager (we reunited when I was 20 and have a great friendship now). My mom remarried when I was very young to a man who taught me so much about love and acceptance, as this man adopted me and to this day you would never guess I am not of his blood. My daddy (who adopted me) was in the Navy until I was around 5ish so my mother was head of household since he was gone so much, I am blessed to have watched such a strong woman who taught me how to care for my home, care for brother and love my daddy. When my daddy got out of the Navy I was then front center to how a marriage can really go through so much and yet only get stronger. No matter how many times our family dynamic changed my parents showed us and each other love. My parents greatest life lessons that I hold onto and keep: 1)never go to bed made 2)always say I love you when you leave no matter the circumstances 2)always forgive. They sound so simple but in reality I have learned they can be hard.

My husband was raised in a large family that holds very close to family ties, something I cherish and consider an amazing blessing, as my family was always moving and far from one another. His parents have been married for over 30 years and work so well together. My husband without knowing most the time, brings so much of their marriage to life in ours, his parents taught him so much about sacrifice and love.

The hard thing is when you take two completely different ideas of marriage and you join it as one, as we did on May 27 2011. There is NO handbook, and it is true that what you have before you say “I do” changes. But whether those changes are good and easy or hard and trying is up to you. I will be the first one to admit my husband has his hands full; I am a headstrong, independent, loud mouth, stubborn woman. (I disclosed this all before our vows) He accepted that I had a difficult failed first marriage, and he accepted and gave all his love to my daughter who was two at the time we met. See thanks to his parents and how they raised him he opened his arms and heart to her, every date from the beginning has been family focused he was ok that there was very limited “us” time and for that I fell hard for him.  And as he accepted my …ummm… difficultness, I accepted the fact that he was a workaholic, way too tidy (oh yea don’t roll your eyes) man.  But after we wed, the hard stuff started, how do we make our marriage ours? How do we make what we loved about our parents’ marriage work for us? You know the person you married isn’t like your mom/dad but what does that look like in a marriage?

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Our first two years of marriage my husband worked nights, this was very hard on us as it was new. I had moved two hours away from family and friends and then my husband was no longer “there”. He changed as a person from lack of sleep, he would try to stay awake for us and it would make things harder. In this time we decided we wanted to grow our family and then was hit with infertility. So many things made creating our marriage dynamic harder. At some point in all this madness we found a silver lining, our church, which eventually became a lifeline for us, our family away from family. Our loneliness was now bearable, we had something to look forward to; see we both shared a love for keeping church apart of our lives we just hadn’t found one that fit. After sometime we realized that every marriage is different and what makes each one unique are the situations that build or break it. We weren’t going to have exact marriages like our parents or others we saw, we were going to have OUR marriage and what it was made of was up to us!

Once this brilliant thought came into our mind, we stopped looking at everything in shades of black and grey and turned it into bright lights. We weren’t going to let rough times define us, but build our marriage; we made them stepping stones to the marriage we wanted. Instead of pulling us away from each other we ran into each other’s arms. We grew closer as friends and as husband and wife! We turned everything over to God, we asked Him to lead our marriage where He wanted it. We accepted everything as it was and stopped worrying and started enjoying all we had together. And guess what happened??? Everything started to fall into place, we were blessed with a pregnancy that lead to our youngest daughter Evelynn, he was able to return to days, I became a stay at home mom, and we are still in love with our church family that has led to many amazing friendships!

I know look at motherhood much the same way, I am not my mother and I am not my husband’s mother I am me, Ashlie-My daughters mother! And I am OK with that, we still take what we learned from our parents but we have made it work for us. Yes we still may struggle with figuring out what that means but the one thing we BOTH learned is that with love and patience you can’t go wrong. 

Photos by close friend and very talented Rachael at http://www.panachelouisvillephotography.com/ 

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Growing Pains: Realizing my little girl isn’t so little

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Me: Walking into her bedroom to tuck her in, “What are doing baby girl?” As I watch her rustle around under her blanket.

Makayla: “nothing” she says as she pulls her cover up fast and puts her hands together, with one of those {I’m not telling you glares}

Me: “You were doing something”, my interest is raised…what could she be hiding. I walk towards her bed for a story and kisses.

Makayla: tensing up as I move closer, “Oh my knee was itchy mommy, I was just scratching it.”

Me: oh please let it be true……this can’t be {that} moment. I pull her blanket back (just to check her knee, it could be a rash,right). I go in for my hug then do the quick mommy maneuver and YES I CAUGHT YOU, oh no I did catch you. I hold up this little plastic Minnie Mouse as my eyes fill with tears because I just realized I caught my sweet little girl in a lie. “MAKAYLA, you lied to me! That hurts mommy, you know we can’t play with toys when its bedtime. Im taking this good night.” I try rushing out because my face feels hot and my eyes my start to leak.

Makayla: “Mommy you forgot my kiss…..you are going to still give me one, right?” 

Me: oh baby girl, still sweet just growing up. “Yes baby, sorry I forgot, love you sleep tight.”

I walk into my bedroom and look at my husband who is already in bed, he gives me this puzzled look and I toss him the toy. I simply say “shes growing too fast and I just caught her in her first lie lie” (you know what I mean, she came up with an excuse she could have stuck with nothing!) My darling of a husband just says “and you think this is the first?” I roll my eyes he doesn’t understand it but oh his time will come when she has her first crush.

This event keeps playing over and over in my head, why is it so hard for me to get a handle on this situation? Am I thinking to much? Taking it too serious? She is only six, it was harmless. But how do I make sure this doesn’t happen again? Did I handle it right? Why does my heart still ache? As these questions keep festering in my mind I simple think back to her baby and toddler days. I still see the girl who use to run around saying “you sue me” when we would scare her, and I see spiky pigtails. I often look over the young lady she is becoming. Those pigtails are being traded in for french braids, and her instead of pronouncing a whole word wrong she is learning how to read words.

And this little girl has blessed me beyond words, in ways she will never understand and a few that one day at the right time I will tell her. She has been my rock in times I thought I would surly shatter, her simple words often distracted me from thoughts that consumed me and she is a big reason I am the mom I am today. I often let my desire to control everything hold Makayla back from growing up, but as I see daily There is only so much as mommy you can do because they figure it out on their own. So that is way I want to encourage her to be the best her. I pray the God shows me how, what and takes away my need for the why.

As a mother you have to think [what kind of person do I hope they become], when I think of that I picture a kind, giving, strong, confident, successful, inspirational and loving person. Now who do I raise that??? Honestly, I have NO CLUE, there really isn’t a manual or a 101 class, so all I can suggest is to show them your love for God, let them see you rely on him, pray for people and things. I want my daughter to see me love others, to see not only myself but my husband too put Him in our marriage, in our decisions. For her to see that going to church isn’t just a thing we do on Sundays but a way of life, a lifeline for us, one that goes beyond those doors and into our relationships with other people. The fact is they will become who they become based on their environment, whether they choose to be like you or nothing like you well that’s not our decision but the right now is!! I choose to just love her with all my might and all my heart, because last night isn’t going to be the last {oh my mommy} moment and she will do things that hurt my heart and I have to stay strong and have faith that the Lord will help guide me daily and my husband will be there to wipe those few tears and reassure me!ImageImage

Interview With Wendy Blight, speaker from Proverbs 31 and author

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ImageSo I am so excited to post my interview with Wendy Blight, you may know her from Proverbs 31 or one of her books she has written (read for more info on her NEWEST book) or even her blog http://wendyblight.com/ . Her bio goes something like this: “Wendy Blight is an author, speaker, Bible study teacher, curriculum writer, attorney, wife and mother. Sparked with the desire and giftedness to share God’s Word, she teaches women to stand on Scripture, understand what it really says, and apply It in their daily lives.” ß Taken from http://proverbs31.org/speakers/wendy-blight/

We were able to chat back and forth about her new book; Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life, as well as New Year’s resolutions, and more!

What is your life verse? That one verse that no matter the situation or season of life revives you, brings a smile to your heart, wipes away a tear and pushes you forward.

W: “My life verse is Psalm 40:1-3. Every verse reflects the journey of healing God took me through after I was attacked by an armed, masked man hiding in my apartment. God gave me this verse twenty years after my attack and at the beginning of His calling on my life to be a teacher. Each time I hear it or read it, it reminds me of God’s faithfulness and goodness.”

What is your favorite “studying” technique? Do you have a certain way you dive into the word, a certain time of the day, specific studies you like to follow? I have trained myself to get up in the morning with coffee of course.

W: “If I’m studying on my own, I enjoy starting in one book of the Bible and working through it with a journal by my side. But if I’m writing a Bible study, where I begin depends on what God has laid on my heart. Sometimes it’s a book of the Bible, sometimes it’s a character, sometimes it’s a theme, and with my new study coming out in March, it was two words. And once I decide on the study, I surround myself with Bibles, a Bible dictionary, a Greek-Hebrew Dictionary and commentaries. I LOVE the process of writing a study!! And I’m a morning girl, so I usually spend my mornings studying and writing after I send my son off to school.”

For myself, I am trying this new thing I saw on someone’s blog, where I pick a word in my case words (mom/wife) and you write in a composition note book daily, you write verses you find, maybe tid bits from sermons, or wonderful quotes. Mornings seem to be the quietest time I can find, before my girls wake up!!

Did you make a New Year resolution(s)? I made 3 big ones, focus on growing with Christ, particularly with prayer, find ways so pinch pennies, and find ways to get my family moving.

W: “I use to make New Year’s resolutions. But over the past several years, I have written New Year’s prayers instead. I much prefer these because they tend to be less structured, yet the changes God makes in me spill over into all areas of my life!”

 

What inspired you to want to serve in ministry and what do you like to focus most on? For me it’s a new calling and I am so unsure about 90% of the time where it is calling me, I just know I want to reach families, women specifically through my journey of finding my own way to Christ.

W: “I’m an attorney by training. If you had told me upon graduation from law school that I would have been in ministry, I would have erupted in laughter. Ministry was not on my radar screen at all. Law was my dream. I had a path I wanted to follow. But the practice of law was not what I thought it would be. And although I loved the study of law, I disliked the practice of law. So disappointing after investing so much time and money in my education. But the beautiful irony is that the study habits and writing skills I gained throughout law school and the practice of law benefit me immensely as a speaker, author and Bible teacher. As usual, God knew what He was doing! Within ministry, my heart is drawn toward writing and teaching Bible study. Besides my family, nothing brings me greater joy than to come alongside women and watch God’s Word come alive in their lives!”

Ok so I am going to wrap this up so we can get to sharing info on your new book….. You have to be quick….first 3 W words that pop in your head…..GO….

W: “Wisdom, Water, Wash (can you tell by the last two that I do lots of laundry!)”

So what can you tell me about your new book Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life?Image

 

 It will be released on March 4th as part of Thomas Nelson’s Inscribed Studies collection of books. It can be purchased from Proverbs 31. It’s also available on Amazon and at LifeWay. And if you order by March 14th from Proverbs, I will sign the book!

Here is a link to order Wendy’s new book:

http://www.p31bookstore.com/products/living-so-that-making-faith-filled-choices-in-the-midst-of-a-messy-life-1

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Want to hear more from Wendy you can find her here:

http://www.wendyblight.com

http://www.proverbs31.org

http://www.inscribedstudies.com

My new delicious obsession..that is healthy

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I have always struggled with my weight, and since having my second child its been even harder. I had a great friend keep telling me about these shakes that you simply replace a meal a day (or two) and add a little or a lot of fitness to your day depending on what your goals are and see where you are in 90 days. I was a little unsure until I say her transformation pictures after the birth of her first son and well after I stepped on a scale and saw where I was headed…I WAS SOLD!!! With in my 1st week I lost 5 lbs!!!! That’s with no exercise, I just added a shake (peanut butter/chocolate/ banana) and watching what I ate the rest of the day. I chose to drink my shake in the morning because my mornings are a little crazy; between getting my oldest ready for school, packing her lunch, doing my devotion and making her breakfast before the kids I watch show up or the baby wakes I would just skip breakfast, but I do have friends that drink theirs during lunch or after a workout because their building muscle, you make it work for you!!!

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And who can say no thanks to a shake that can turn into any sweetness you want……I am SERIOUS!!!! You can make it taste like almost any candy bar you can imagine, or favorite desert, or if you prefer the fruity flavors they have recipes for that too!!! For me this is crucial because I have a HUGE sweet tooth and chocolate is my weakness!! They offer different shake packs for the different health and fitness needs and they even have add on options to really make it work for you!

They are GLUTEN FREE, safe to drink while PREGNANT or BREASTFEEDING, Heart Smart, kosher dairy, suitable for VEGETARIANS, and a good source of fiber…..all in one big black and silver bag!!!

Now all that you need to do is start making a shake a day to whatever craving your little taste buds are having, add a little fitness (for me 30 minutes a day of walking or a jog sometimes just some crunches and little weights), set a goal and start you 90 day challenge!!!

Want More Information visit my link http://www.ampauli.bodybyvi.com

My Challenge Info:

  • start weight 180
  • goal 30lbs
  • kit: Balance
  • So far…day 13 and 5lbs down!

Go ahead I know you want to….lets do this challenge together!!!!! http://ampauli.myvi.net/profile/index.html