Thursday, July 21, 2016

Finding Joy

Summer = popsicles on the deck, no?

Maybe you can relate.

I have an amazing life. I am blessed beyond measure. I am happily married to my best friend. I have two amazing (ex-utero) children. I am on the brink of welcoming another little soul to this big, bad world. We have all of our material needs met. We're doing the best we can on spiritual matters. We have amazing circles of family, friends, support -- both here in Wichita, and itching for us to come home to Arizona. 

I also have small children. I am 37 weeks pregnant in this sticky August heat that seems not to be going away anytime soon (at least according to the weatherman). I have a husband who works long (and currently very early!) hours. 

So, at the end of the day, where's my focus? On the moments that made me laugh so hard that I cried? On the joy of stopping my girl on the stairs and embracing her in a monster hug for no reason at all? On Peter's hilarious statements, lacking in any sort of connecting words?

No, I focus on me. On my problems, concerns, complaints. On how the kids are fighting or loud or not respecting my need for personal space between the hours of 3 and 5 pm.

One way that I'm hoping to combat that plague is by looking for the joy in my life. Identifying it. I mean, it's right there for the taking. I just have to do it. And I hope to share those moments here. To capture them. To make them my focus, instead of my blur. To count my blessings. 

My name is Ashley, and in my life, I am finding joy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

When It's All Bottled Up

I have barely touched a keyboard in months.

I want to. I want to find my creative mojo and write. I want to share the thousand things in my head and in my heart. I want to tell you about how beautifully God is shaping me with this whole marriage and motherhood thing. I want to tell you about how miserably I fail time and time again. I want to capture this moment in my life, because I see how fleeting it really is.

But yet. 

But yet. The words are just not there. Not where I want them to be. I have so many drafts sitting unloved. Unedited. Untouched. Unfinished. Unpublished. 

People talk about the death of blogging. Sometimes, I see where they are coming from. Sometimes, I feel the frustrating imbalance between not really caring how many hits I (don't) get, being happy to be a small-time blogger. Sometimes, I dream of more. Then I think about the time commitment, and it's time I just don't want to spend . . . on that. Not now. It's not the right time. Not for me. Maybe someday. 

Someday, I want to dream a big dream. I want to write or teach or DO. But right now, that's not where I'm called to be. I'm called to be Mama to these kiddos of mine. And that's more than okay. That's where God wants me. Doing God's will is always the path to joy, even (especially?) in the face of self-sacrifice.

But these thoughts, these ideas, these experiences? They aren't good when they are bottled up. I'm not good when they are all bottled up. 

Can I promise that my hope of wading back into the blogging waters will be fruitful? No. But my fingers are itching, and that is something I haven't felt in awhile. I'm hoping to run with it, and see where I land. I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Also, where else will I share pictures of my crazy kids being crazy?

Monday, July 18, 2016

37 Week Bumpdate . . . AKA the end of the road

Ok, fine. I still have 3 weeks to go. I still have 2 weeks before I told baby that s/he could make his/her appearance. But I think we all know that this is going to be the last bumpdate I manage to post. I just feel so blah about it.

Anyway, without further ado: 

Feeling: Okay, I guess. I'm hot and tired. I have various aches and pains. I have plenty of irregular contractions that aren't going to be sending me to the hospital anytime soon. One minute, I'm convinced that there is no way I'm going to make it to 40 weeks. The next, I've convinced myself that I'm going to be induced in the end. I'm pretty emotionally done, but as I mentioned, really would prefer Baby to stick around a couple more weeks. Basically, your classic preggo at the end of pregnancy, with the added bonus of an August due date. :-P

Wearing: The same things over and over and over. I'm mostly pretty sick of my wardrobe and mostly pretty ready to move on to the next phase: getting sick of my transition wardrobe. Also, I underestimated how short a couple of my t-shirts would get by the end of pregnancy, so that's making the situation even worse, if I want to be presentable when I leave home. 

Sleeping: Pretty well, all things considered. I'm doing the beached whale roll over every couple of hours, and I wake for the day pretty early -- even earlier than the kids, and that's saying something! -- but overall, I can fall asleep and go back to sleep, so I can't complain too much. 

Missing: It's summer. I would really like to enjoy a cold alcoholic drink on the deck while Charles grills and the kids run around like maniacs. I love my La Croix, but it's just not the same. At all.

Bonus: I've actually taken a lot of bump pictures in the last few weeks that never got posted, so here's your chance to watch me grow. And if you're really lucky, I'll add an actual 37 week picture later, when I'm not bedraggled from being at the pool this morning. :-)