life is sweet.

Life is sweet….except sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.

Nothing ‘bad’ going on here, but just the everyday demands of home, family & work can easily leave me feeling overwhelmed. For our homestudy, we had to take a ‘test’ that looked at every area of our lives. One of the questions to help determine personal stress was “I don’t feel like there are enough hours in a day to get everything done that needs to be done.” We had to agree or disagree with that statement. I can’t imagine many parents that would not agree with that (except my husband who did not agree with it. What? Do we live in the same house?). I whole heartily agreed. Everyday demands can suck the joy out of everyday life…at least they can when I let them. Afterall, it really does boil down to how I view those demands.

I’m speaking to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group today. Speaking in front of people overwhelms me. It is a weird thing for me….“Hi my name is Ashley. I write a blog….which sounds a lot like blob. I will probably blab. Just nod your head and we’ll get through this.”

Life just feels a little too crazy and busy right now. Too many balls being juggled and the clock feeling like it is speeding up each day. I can’t work faster than I already do. I can’t catch up with the hands of the clock.

I can slow down. I can stop. I can take a break. In the midst of feeling completely overwhelmed with all that demands my time and attention, I stopped. I watched my daughter. She teaches me how to fully be in a moment without a single care towards anything else in the world. She teaches me that sometimes the greatest joys come in the smallest things. She reminds me that life is sweet…it is especially sweet when I am fully present, fully aware, fully engaged, and fully enjoying it. In this moment, with her, life is sweet. I don’t want to miss it. I may not get it again.
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  • Kezia - Life is sweet….. and so is your daughter! Have a good day!

  • Corey Moortgat - aw, her hair looks so cute like that- up in the little ponytail! She’s such a cutie!

  • annie - I hear you! I’ve felt like this school year has gotten me on autopilot – where has the time gone. We juggling our three kids, their activities, volunteering and self employment for both my husband and myself – it’s been crazy to say the least. We did a movie night last night – and just cuddled in the basement. It felt so good to doing nothing but BE with each other. Enjoy your cake – life is sweet!

  • Sara - I love your blog and how you tell it like it is. It is refreshing to see how amazing women who do it all with grace(you) have real life issues too. Thank you for being real and reminding me to enjoy the little things.

  • Sarah - Amen!! I hope it gets better for you soon!!! Take some time to chill and relax; you deserve it! Loving Firecrackers hair right now!

  • elisabeth (bovagoods) - this time of year is the best and the worst. i am already freaking out about thanksgiving and christmas. how did this happen? thanksgiving, three weeks away? what?

  • Laura {The Embellished Nest} - She is so cute! Hope your speaking goes well!

  • Vicky - Your girl is so sweet, beautiful and adorable! <3

  • Ranee - amen.

  • Sarah Pratt - Yummy! Chocolate batter of any kind makes the day worth getting up for. I agree. Your daughter is simply beautiful!

  • stephanie - She is getting cuter my the minute…of that’s possible.

  • lindsey - So, i’ve decided that you need to post a video so that we can see one of the sword fights, or hear Fire Cracker trying to convince you that she’s bigger than she is :) I check the blog every day and i always give voices in my head to each kid as I see them playing through photos. I know – I’m strange! haha!

  • Jamie - love this post and the last picture is precious!!

  • angie - she gets more and more beautiful everyday! love that last picture. the message behind your words. thank you.

  • Jes - I really needed this today, our life is being torn upside down with a child abuse accusation from my fiance’s ex wife. In all the hustle and bustle..the kids show us! Thank You!

  • rebekah - Your blog is my daily pick-me-up, and this is exactly what I needed today. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  • emmybrown - lovely….and thanks for the reminder. I needed it today!

  • Molly - Love this post! So true!!! I read a quote somewhere that said something like “the cause of mans unhappiness is giving up what you want most for what you want now.” so for example…what I want now is to get my dishwasher cleaned out but what I want most is for my kids to remember I took the time to play with them. It is helping me make those daily choices to focus on what makes life so sweet! Plus your blog helps a lot too:)

  • Cara - You are right. We all feel the immense pressure all that needs to be done each day. But we can stop. We can rest and take a break. Thanks for the reminder!

  • giozi - Love tones that you used for this sesion, are a a light vintage style. Love the last pictures your daughter looks so beautiful. She is super cute and really beautiful ;)

  • Jennifer - Yes. Feeling overwhelmed as well – trying to stop and notice those sweet moments

  • Amy - You’re so right. Watching little ones is the best example on how to savor every moment. No shock that Jesus said we much approach the kingdom as children. Not rushing, not taking any of it for granted, rather we should be wide-eyed and appreciative. Thank you for this sweet reminder (By the way, you may not remember me, but we were in Adopt(ed) together. My name is Amy. Hope you and your sweet crew have a great day :)

  • Kelly J. R. - I really love this photo set!

  • Laura - she is so pretty:).

  • Julie - LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors in these pictures! Did you use any lovely actions perhaps (that I could use and try to get the same loveliness???) :)

  • cynthia - I hear you on all accounts. I’ve got to get better at capturing these moments. Beautiful post once again. :)

  • Tammy - Bless this sweet child! What an angel!!

  • Kimberly - I’m sure the MOPS group LOVED you! I’m in a MOPS group where I live and so wish you lived closer so we could have you come!!! That last pic of FireCracker is AMAZING….LOVE IT!! =) She is such a DOLL!

  • Asha - I could write a novel in response to this post but I won’t. In a nutshell: I am a stay at home mom with two kids. As the got older, I stopped doing things for myself (crafting, doing my hair, going to lunch with friends, etc..) There was never enough ‘time’. They are now in school 6 hours a day…I don’t work outside the home (yet), I have the 6 hours a day to do as I please: craft, bake, antiquing, you name it. Know what I found? It’s still never enough time. Why? Is it me? Then I starting reading a book called The Power of Now. I discovered I never live in the moment, ever. I was always planning what was going to be done with the week ahead, never in the present, always in the future. I’m trying to be more in the moment and know that nothing will ever “get done” so stop trying and enjoy my life. Once you realize it will never, ever all be done, you slow down a bit and relax.

  • Anna Joy - I know how you feel. I’m glad you are able to step back and examine that. Sometimes I feel like there is not enough time for me to even do that! Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Mandy Jones - Your words feel like a “divine intervention”. I have been neglecting to live in the moment, choosing instead to look to the future, to look at what I need to do, at what I should have done yesterday and what I will have to do today to catch up. I find myself feeling exhausted and like I am missing out on so much. Your words reminded me that I am the maker of my own decisions. Photos to edit? Laundry to do? A house that needs cleaned? Dogs that need groomed? Yardwork to be done? So what! It will all be there tomorrow. Tonight I am claiming a little “me time”. I might actually make something I pinned on Pinterest ;)

    p.s. That last picture of “FireCracker” is my new favorite. It makes me want to smear brownie batter all over my own face and create a “reminder poster” for my office because life truly is sweet!

  • Amy - I love this post. :) Firecracker is beautiful — and I love what you did with her hair!

  • heather - i so needed to read this today.
    thanks you for sharing it.
    and i’m sure you will do wonderful speaking today!!!!!

  • kelly - I LOVE these. Love, love, love them.

  • Rebecca - I don’t usually comment but just had to today. You really have the most beautiful daughter – there is just that little twinkle in her eye that is so cute. I love the picture of her looking up and licking the spoon. What a nice family and I love your blog. God’s blessings on your adoption. Thank you.

  • rachelzana - I wish you were speaking at my MOPS group! You will be awesome!

  • Michelle - Thank you! I needed to hear that specific word today…this weekend has been such a struggle against being overwelmed and choosing to not give in…but to enjoy today and not let tomorrow wear me out before it even gets here! =) Matthew 11:28-30 Thank you Jesus that your burden is easy and your yoke is light!

  • Melissa Evans - Precious post. I fully agree that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Fully agreed! It’s always an amazing thing that children can bring you right back down.

  • amanda torres - Her hair! Oh my, her hair. So gorgeous! I needed to read this today. Who cares if there is STUFF all over my house and company’s coming over for dinner. I have food to feed them. A house to shelter them. And, lots of love for them. That should be my priority in my thinking today. Not griping at my lovable little guys for pulling out, yet, another toy.

  • Sarah @ Handbags*N*Pigtails - I led my MOPS group for two years. That group was my therapy as a young stay at home mom. So much wisdom, so much understanding sitting there in one room. In fact, in our small group, we’ve had three sets of twins and TWO sets of quads!!!!!! Now those are moms who definitely feel overwhelmed:)
    I love the pics of Firecracker. Shes looking like such a little lady these days.

  • Nori R - She is a lovely – and today, especially SWEET – reminder to stop and be just be present. Love the picture of her tasting it, and then wearing it.

  • Erica - Dear Ashley: The next time you need to run away and breath for the day, I will fly you to Birmingham. But you have to bring your camera. :) :) :)

  • Celia - I say it every time…. she is such a beauty!!!!! That last photo is just wonderful. :)

  • tif - ashley…our MOPS group was *so* excited to have you speak at our meeting today and you did not disappoint. your shyness is so endearing and you are so cute and REAL! thank you *so* much for taking a giant leap out of your comfort zone to share with us what God has done in your life and some wisdom you’ve collected along that journey. i literally GASPED at two of these pictures – great shots, an absolutely adorable subject and *such* sweet memories of your li’l firecracker! you rock, girl! so glad i got to meet you, officially, today. Ü

  • Jeana - So I must admit, I was guilty of looking over all those gorgeous photos of your little one before reading what you wrote. But after reading and THEN looking at the photos a second time, how much more precious they were! You are so right! It’s SO easy to get caught up in the ‘everday’ and Lord knows there’s never enough time in the day, instead of just pausing and enjoying the moments you are in. Thank you for the reminder!

    Blessings to you!
    ~Jeana

  • Tina I. - Reading 1,000 Gifts on your recommendation, and the chapter about “Hurrying always empties the soul” brought me to tears. I’ve read that part twice over, and know that I have much work to be done in that area. That last picture of your daughter is (as my kids would say) “Saaaaah-WHEEET!”

  • Misty - I love that last picture! What a great image of youth!

  • Candice Forte - Ashley,
    Thank you so much for coming. We all loved you and we know you will want to come back soon (just kidding…maybe) :). Anyway, you had a lot to say. It was not rambling, it was inspiring! And I know how you feel about speaking in front of groups. I personally hate it which is weird that I would choose to lead a group at all. Anyway, thank you so much and it was wonderful getting to meet you!
    Candice

  • Bella - Your daughter is adorable!!
    Looks like some fun mommy daughter time:)

  • Jeannette - I would have to AGREE with that question!! Thanks for the perspective. That last pic is about the cutest thing ever!!

  • Paige - Yes! Even on the road sometimes I get caught up in all that needs to be done. It’s tough to slow down even for a few minutes and relish the quiet, enjoying the moments. I’ve started, though, to play with Mega-Blocks outside with the girls—it helps.
    Love your posts about real life the best!

  • Ingrid - that second to last photo of her is one of my all time favs on this blog! that little smile she has is too cute!
    i have to remind myself to live in the moment with my kids sometimes too – i often leave the housework to hang with them, but not always do i leave behind the thoughts in my head about what i “should” be doing. i pray that i will have more patience and will be more present in the moment.

  • Lacey - Thank you for posting this, Ashley.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Life is sweet. I am so sorry you are feeling like it is going to fast. You are right on. just stop. the world will keep turning. It’s crazy that way :)

  • e l l a - Sweet she is ;)
    And so are you for being so honest. I think a lot of women (especially moms of little ones) have these high expectations to multitask and they always have this need to do more – - actually multitasking is not so wise anymore – I also learned that the hard way trying to balance motherhood with work. Sometimes, “do less” should be on a reminder board instead of “to do”. I’m thinking of this quote for you Ashley that I designed, I hope you like it: http://www.lifeologia.com/happy-monday-2/
    xo

  • Pamela - I totally agree – not enough hours. And sometimes the best thing to do is to stop and enjoy. Love the photos.(as always)

  • barbara Janaina - every word that you say is true! thanks! a lot! kisses from Brazil!

  • Lyn - This is so helpful! Just another reminder for me to take a deep breath! Firecracker is beautiful. Love the smile. My son does that. The big smile with cake batter on his face it’s one of the beautiful moments I love to get on film.

  • Mrs. Tuttle - That last pic is just perfect! It’s always good to s-l-o-w down. :)

  • tracy a - saw this post a day late. i’m sure you were great at mops…i seem to remember you organizing and pulling off and entire weekend dedicated to speaking to young girls, so this i’m sure you did just as well! that last picture? amazing. keep it forever!

  • Mama Moose - The last one is a Christmas Card Photo for sure!

  • Moriah - I wish I had a mother of preschoolers group I could join. :-) So with you on the overwhelmed note, thanks for the reminder. Firecracker is getting so big and that cake face makes even people she doesn’t know smile!

  • Amy Cannon - These are such sweet photos! I love your photos and I wish I could take your online class!! :)
    I love the color of your kitchen wall…do you happen to know what color that is?
    Thanks for inspiring me!

  • Veronica - She is so so cute… thanks for your post!

  • Amy D - Love this post! And the processing is beautiful! Did you use actions? Which ones?

  • becca g - her hair is getting so long!

  • Kelly - Your daughter just melts me.

    Great reminder to stop the craziness and find the joy in everyday! Love your blog.

  • hili - it’s so true, even though i know it,even though i really am greatfull, it’s hard to actually feel how sweet life is right now, when we’re so tired from trying to keep it all togrther .
    maybe that’s why it’s so important to take photos, you can look at them with some distance and be reminded that it is pretty sweet. i love the photos too. truely sweet, FC licking the choclate bowl. you seem to have a lot of alone time with her, is she home with you during the day ?

  • hili - btw, the post work is beautiful too. i know you usually use a milder post, but those second and third images are just gorgeous.

  • Kim Wike - thank you so much for sharing this. don’t kill me but I don’t own a house, or have any kids, or even pets, and sometimes I feel the exact same way. No matter what our situation is I think everyone feels this sometimes. Thank you for the reminder to be in the moment, it really wont ever happen again. We can be the ones to slow down, to stop. I’ve never thought of it that way. Love it!

  • Jocelyn - She is so cute! I have to agree with you, just by looking at these pcitures you can see how she enjoys her moments. Love it!

  • Heather - I cannot tell you how much your blog inspires me and reminds me to stop and take it all in…even if you’re not saying that in your blog… the emotions in your photos speak that way to me. I cannot imagine how you do it all. I for one am grateful for the time you take to share. One quick question if you don’t mind, what lens did you use for the photos in the post?
    THANKS

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