family | happy birthday to felicity grace

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Her first (of many) birthday brunch!

Our Beloved Felicity turned one on December 26th.

And even though I'm over a month late posting this, it's hard to believe God blessed us with her that long ago. Not because the time feels like it's been shorter than that, but mostly because I can hardly remember what The Mr. and I used to do before she came into our lives.

Time seems to begin with her gentle kicks in my belly, which soon turned into full force ninja kicks. It seems like she's always been with us. Her laughter forces anyone who is around her to smile. Her joy is so genuine and pure. She makes every day a thousand times brighter.

I love the way she can bring a smile out of complete strangers in the grocery store.

I love how she didn't gradually start walking, but just kind of took of across the dining room toward The Mr. one evening.

I love that her laugh is a mixture between that of a tween and an eight-year-old woman.

I love every curl in her hair.

I love her little pudgy feet.

I love (well...it's a love/hate relationship) how she tries to roll away as soon as I clean her tush while changing her diaper.

I love the way her eyes light up when she sees her daddy.

I love that she cries when I yell "STOP" at her when she's doing something she shouldn't be, but then comes straight to me for a hug.

I love how our family loves her.

I love how she loves, so pure.

I love how she is an undeniable example of how much God loves me.

Happy Birthday (...and some days) to our beloved Felicity Grace. 

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faith | beloved: the unmentionables series experience

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

 
Have you ever started to work on a project that you were beyond excited about, but also felt completely ill-equipped to execute?

That's sort of the feeling I had as I entered the Beloved event last weekend in Birmingham, AL. I mentioned last week that I'd be travelling there to speak on abortion as part of their unMentionables Series. Though I'd prayed about it several times, and was very comfortable with standing in front of a group telling my abortion testimony, I was still a little antsy on the car ride up. I could try to blame it all on the fact that I wasn't feeling too well during the days leading up to the event, but I've faked a calm demeanor more than a couple of times when my stomach was actually doing back flips so that certainly was not the case.
 
I think it was mostly the weight we often carry when we allow the expectations of others control our emotions. I'm not sure what each woman in that room came expecting to receive, but they definitely wanted something.
 
And they wanted it from me.
 
What could I possibly have to give them?
 
Who was I to even give it?
 
While riding in the deafening silence on the way to Birmingham, I could feel the Holy Spirit answer that question: the truth; just give them the Truth.
 
Tell them you're flawed. Tell them you were selfish. Tell them you became a mother way before you ever gazed into the beautiful eyes of your daughter. Tell them you were wrong. Tell them your son isn't here. Tell them where he is now. Tell them you grieved his death, and tell them you have been forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.
 
And most importantly, let them know that if this is their story they can be forgiven and set free from the bondage of guilt, and shame, and hurt, and confusion as well. Let them know it's not too late.
 
 
So, that's what I did.
 
And I promise you...chains were broken that night.
 
A few women came up to me afterwards and just began to cry as I held their hand and they told me their own story, shared their fears, and thanked me for being vulnerable.
 
You're welcome.
 
When I speak in front of people about abortion, I always expect to get some backlash about it later. The entire message I delivered was recorded and is available here if you'd like to watch it. But I know not everyone who has seen it agrees with what I've said. I always expect a little "pro-choice" hate-mail or comments on social media. My delivery isn't perfect. I'm not a Biblical scholar and I may have even misquoted a Scripture or two, who knows.
 
What's important is that the message was clear; a message of forgiveness and redemption.
 
These women left hearing how beloved they are to God.
 
They were reminded He cares for them.
 
That may not have been what they came to receive, but that's what I was commissioned to give them; a reminder of the purifying power of Jesus Christ's sacrifice.
 
Thank you for allowing me share that Truth.
 
 
 
If you would like more information about how to get connected with a post-abortion healing
class in the Mobile, AL area, please just let me know here and I will get the information
to you as quickly as possible. All correspondences are confidential between you,
myself and the agency that provides that classes.
 
 
xoxo,
Ashley Danielle
 
 

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health | review: thieves essential oil

Monday, January 19, 2015

 
Thieves is by far my favorite essential oil blend to use. 

The history behind it alone sparked my interest and I knew I had to give it a try. It has been said (in many different ways) that a group of thieves in Europe took to robbing individuals who had fallen ill due to the Bubonic plague. Upon being captured, the judicial system of the time agreed to be lenient in their sentencing if they revealed how they'd managed to not get sick themselves. They allegedly disclosed they were using a blend of essential oils commonly used for medicinal purposes. Most of these oils are the foundation for the Young Living Thieves essential oil blend. 

Now, I don't really know just how true this story is, but what most who swear by this oil can agree upon is that our experiences and success with it trump any credibility one might desire of ancient folklore. 

If you want a list of the ingredients and a few suggested uses from Young Living, click here, but I just want to share how my family uses it. 

The smell is perfection and the health benefits appear to know no bounds. It was the second essential oil I ever tried after peppermint oil and it has become a staple. I was using it on everyone in my family's feet before bed each night, but we are such busy bees that my husband would often forget and sometimes I'd be so exhausted I'd forget to put it on my daughter. I've discovered that since I wake up before everyone else, it's better for me to just diffuse some Thieves oil in the bedroom while they are still sleeping so they simply inhale it for about an hour before starting their day. 

Now, I won't say we haven't gotten sick since we started using it, but I will say that I have seen us get over colds either just quickly as we did when taking over-the-counter meds or faster. Plus, when one person gets sick, the ickiness doesn't automatically travel to everyone else.

I also use it in a tea I make for my husband when he feels under the weather, which includes 2 drops of Thieves essential oil blend, 2 drops of lemon essential oil, some lemon Bigelow tea with probiotics, and 2 oz. of Ningxia Red (optional). It usually soothes his throat and helps him start feeling better rather quickly. I actually made a variation of it for myself last night because I simply could NOT stop coughing no matter what I did. I changed out the Thieves for orange essential oil and was no longer coughing within minutes. My daughter's babysitter was there and was amazed at how quickly I started feeling better (and how great the house smelled with all of that citrus floating through the air!). 

I have a lot of products that are part of the entire Thieves collection created by Young Living, so I will be reviewing each of those over time to give them they attention they deserve. And as always, know that if I love a product, I'll say it. But if I'm really not feeling it, I will certainly let you know the truth. This is all about being the healthiest versions of ourselves we possibly can be, not trying to convince you to buy something you may not be interested in. 

If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments below, check out my intro to essentials page, and follow me on Instagram for daily mentions of how I use EOs. 


xoxo, 
Ashley Danielle
 
 
*** Any suggestions made on this blog are extremely specific to Young Living Essential Oils only and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. I do not claim to be an essential oils expert or any form of healthcare provider. I have done a great deal of research on their products, and am confident in the testimonies and information I share on this blog, but I highly recommend you do your own research as well. I am simply a woman/wife/mama sharing our families journey to a healthier lifestyle. If you are currently on medication, please DO NOT STOP without consulting your physician first.




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health | holy yoga with jess chamberlain

Friday, January 16, 2015

Courtesy of Jessie Chamberlain

Jessie Chamberlain is a 225-RHY instructor and one of my newest Instagram girlfriends. From posting some of the most challenging poses I've ever seen, to brightening my day with pics of her beautiful daughter, she and I have just clicked over the mass expanse of this Internet world. Her heart pours out through the screen, and she has been an inspiration to me in my own Holy Yoga practice. So, of course, I was thrilled when she agreed to write a guest post for me about how connecting with Jesus on her mat has changed her. 

Enjoy.

xoxo, 
Ashley Danielle

------------------------------------------------------ 


I never really understood yoga, or why people did it. 

Until I found Jesus in my practice

People are searching. 

We are built with a giant, gaping hole inside of us that's meant to be filled with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, too many people don't realize that Jesus is the only one who can satisfy that emptiness. For me, I didn't love yoga until I loved Jesus. I mean, I've always "loved Jesus", I grew up in a very morally-correct house and aimed to do the right things as I grew into adulthood. But loving Jesus was never real for me until around the same time I started my practice. I don't attribute yoga to being my answer. I think yoga was just more of a tool, in assisting me to set time aside to get to my know my Heavenly Father.

Growing up, my life was like the movies. 

My best friend in the whole world lived just across the street from me- I remember everyday at 3:15I would sneak through my neighbors yard and climb this particular tree. It was the spot. The hideaway place that nobody knew about. I would wait there sitting high up on my very own branch, waiting to see my friend running towards the tree. She would swing her backpack behind the large trunk and start scaling the tree. We did this everyday, It was special for us. It's where we shared secrets, and spied on our neighbors. We didn't HAVE to meet there, but we did. Because for us, it worked. 

It was special.

Courtesy of Jessie Chamberlain

I think for me, and many others, Holy Yoga facilitates this special "hideaway" place for us to connect with the Father. Sure, there are numerous places to meet with Him, but there's just something so sweet about finding Him there on my mat. Now, I'm not saying that my mat is a magic carpet. I don't settle down into a posture on my mat and immediately the heavens open. It's just a real-life-space for me to find intimacy with God. Because we all live these lives that are real, with real interruptions, real messes and real pain. 

It's not always about the yoga. 

Sometimes it's just meeting Him daily in our special hideaway spot.

-Jessie


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faith | don't let fear win

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I usually don't post this late at night, but I felt like I was keeping something from you all and I wanted to come clean. I like to think of this blog as not just a space where I can pour out my heart without someone cutting me off every few words (because let's be honest, that's why a lot of us blog anyway...to speak freely about what fires us up without interruption), but I want it to be something like a coffee date between girlfriends. 

Today was a good day. 

I woke up on time, did my Bible reading for the day, played with the princess before having to head out to work, managed to do a little something to the hair of mine, and was even able to treat myself to some ho-cho from Starbucks using a gift card I got for Christmas.

However, my heart was just a little heavy. 

I was supposed to start the online classes for my Holy Yoga instructor training yesterday, but I didn't. Not because I didn't want to. Lord know I really want to. But because I allowed a very common speed-bump in my life trip me up in a goal this early in the year; fear. 

I finally managed to finish all of the preliminary work for my 2015 #PowerSheets a couple of days ago and I want to be really honest; I've already failed at one goal. Not failed because I tried and it didn't work out, but because I allowed fear to mess with my head and overpower my heart.

What if no one comes to my classes?

What if my family doesn't support me?

I've only been practicing Holy Yoga a year, am I even good enough?

Do I know enough Scripture to lead these people?

...blah blah blah.

So, I backed out at the last minute. Blamed it on uneasiness that I thought was God telling me not to do it, but have since realized it was just me. Me being afraid. Me not wanting to fail so refusing to try. When I tried to do it again, my support was gone and I was left standing in the aftermath of my hesitation. Will the opportunity present itself again? I don't know. I will soon have a husband back in school full-time, two little people to care for, and all while working a full-time job myself. It could happen; I hope it happens.

But I don't want to lose focus on the beauties that are still evident in my everyday life, the beauties in the field of my dreams, by focusing on the one flower I allowed to wilt away. The wonderful thing about fields though, even hypothetical ones, is that flowers can always be planted again in the next season. 

I'm sharing this not for pity, but to hopefully encourage one of you. 

Don't let fear run your actions. 

Run over fear by sticking to your goals. 

Pres hard towards your dreams; fight for them. 


xoxo, 
Ashley Danielle 

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