I have a voice.

Dear Ashley,

I will never read your blog again….

I come for craft ideas, not lessons in parenting…

Could you only post photo tips, I really don’t care how your house is decorated…

Get over yourself….

The way you said that, well it disgusts me….

I want to read about all the cute things your kids do, not foster care or orphans….

I get that your faith is important to you, but do you have to talk about it….

I don’t agree with your decision to…..

Not to be rude, but I just want you to know because of…..I will never read your blog again.

Ouch. Double Ouch. Dagger to the heart. Yep, I get it. I don’t write a blog that everyone likes. I don’t write on topics that everyone likes. I can’t please all people at all times…good thing that is not my aim. Honestly, I usually just delete emails and try my best not to give them a second thought (and call a good friend to remind me that I am not a horrible person). However, recently there was a very polite comment offering a suggestion that I might consider creating a separate blog for my charitable work. The comment was not written in a mean fashion, just an honest thought presented. I deleted it out of respect for the commentor since I am addressing it publicly and don’t want anyone to go searching for it. I’ve thought about that comment for a week now. It is a valid ‘question’ a lot of people have presented to me in one way or another.

I didn’t intend on writing about it, discussing it here. But, I feel like I need to address it. I’ve rewritten this post in my head a million times the past week. Words can come across misunderstood when you write them…void of being in the speaker’s presence. I’ve already learned that lesson several times. I hope you can hear my heart on this.

There are a lot of blogs written for specific audiences. You can find countless sites that determine content based on what the readers enjoy. Sites that I frequently visit like Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Martha Stewart.com. Great sites loved by their audiences. There are parenting blogs, crafting blogs, photography blogs, cooking blogs, etc. My blog does not fall into those categories.

This is just a blog full of all the random things I enjoy. It isn’t written to make a specific group happy. It is quite simply a creative outlet for me to document all the things that I enjoy.

These things and more make me who I am. These things, that are so much a part of me, can come together in one place ~ my blog. To take one of those things away, would mean taking a big part of me away. And I won’t do that. Blogging is a creative outlet for me. My mind never slows down, I am so grateful to have discovered the personal joy of writing a blog ~ of recording the randomness that fills my racing mind.

My mind is full of craft related things, projects, photography, but also just life stuff. While I will probably always sing the praises of my hot glue gun, I’ll also write about the more personal stuff that goes on in my heart. You see, amid all the crafting and photo taking, I have four little people I am raising. They will learn far more from my actions than my words. I am haunted and challenged by that. If I want them to see beyond their own interests, I have to model it. And while I learn how to do that, I share about the journey here.

When I watch my children drink water, my mind goes to those moms that watch their children drink disease filled water.
When I tuck my kids in their beds, my mind goes to those moms who have lost their kids to famine.
When I pray for my little one in China, my heart aches for all those that will never know the love of a family.
When my kids ask for help, my heart breaks for the millions of children that no longer cry because their voices are not heard.

I’ve been given a voice in my home, in my family…and I’ve been given a voice on this blog.

For as long as I am able, I will raise my voice for those that do not have one.

I will cry out INJUSTICE for those that cry silently.

I will fight for those that feel forgotten by a selfish world.

I will raise my voice.

I will use my blog.

I will believe that change can happen.

And though my feelings get hurt by others and my skin is way too thin, I will not stop because those without a voice are worth it. Yes, I will post on the cute antics of my kids and my latest unfinished project, but I won’t stop there. Harsh emails and comments are hard for me to swallow…and I don’t even get all that many of them. I kind of think if you don’t like a blog, just don’t read it. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier just to stop blogging than to read the mean words of others. However, that would be robbing myself of something I love just because someone doesn’t like me. Isn’t that life though…allowing the mean words of others to sink in and rob us of joy? Some of the greatest encouragements I have ever received have been from individuals I’ve met through this blog. The good blows the bad out of the water….and I am so, so, so very grateful for that. Thank you sweet, encouraging online friends.

So, yeah, I have a voice. I don’t want to waste it.

You have a voice too and I hope you don’t allow others to keep you from using it.


floral illustrations by Katie Daisy, poster by Jon Contino (40% of profits go to Smile Train – an organization that repairs clefts for those in developing countries.)

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  • Courtney Northcutt - Your blog is great! Merry Christmas!!!

  • Heather S - I love your blog, and the reason I continue to follow is because you have great ideas, but in the mix, you throw in some personal stuff that makes your readers “know” you. I have been following for almost a year and watching your kids grow and change makes me feel like a long lost “Auntie”….I am sure you have way more admirers than haters, you can’t please them all. And if they aren’t pleased, they can find a new blog because really, its their problem, not yours :-)

  • Becky G - Amen to that! I simply don’t understand why people just can’t skip over a blog if they don’t like what they see. I absolutely love your blog and it’s the 1st thing I read every morning. You inspire me and I know you inspire many others as well! I hope you never stop blogging. Have a good day! :)

  • Liz - Beautifully said. Your blog is something I look forward to reading every day. You have changed my thought process for the better, and I cannot thank you enough. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Sarah - I would take it as a compliment that these commenters believe that your blog is popular enough that now it’s not a “personal blog” but a larger community that they merit they have a say in. :)

    This remains your own blog until you deem otherwise, so I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. They don’t have to read if they don’t want to.

  • Jennifer B - I have never understood why people feel the need to email/post comments such as those. They are not paying for your blog service so they have no obligation to read anything you write! It probably stirs feelings in people, and for some, they don’t like to think what happens in this cruel world and it is just better to push it out of your mind of what even happens. Or they have no idea where to start so it is just better to complain. I hate to think what these people think of the ASPCA commercials that tug at your heart with the Sarah McLachlan song.
    That said, my husband is *really* into documentaries right now. We just watched one on North Korea. There is not much one can do for them at this point for North Korea and our hearts ache for their residents and especially children who are starving. So what can we do? We can only pray. And sometimes that is all you can do and people probably forget this aspect.

  • Dawn - Amen! I for one LOVE your blog. You have encouraged me in many ways.
    The biggest way is that my husband and I are beginning the steps to become foster parents after the new year! I feel that the blog world encourages me so much! Thank you and keep being YOU!:)

  • Andy - AMEN! i have chills. hope you and your family have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!
    and i love your blog. all of it

  • Vicky - Some people are vile and insensitive and unfortunately they sometimes feel like they need to voice there unwanted opinion.
    You are a massive inspiration to me and I look forward to reading your blog ever day.

    As my mum always says to me “You can please some of the people some of the time but you cant please all of the people all of the time”

    Have a wonderful Christmas!
    x

  • mixedmolly - Sing it sister! It couldn’t have been said better.

  • user.error - what on earth? i should not be surprised that you are snarked on, as highly trafficked as your blog is, but honestly! i am. If you want a blog about crafting only, there are tons. If you want a blog about adoption, they got those too. Heck, you can even find blogs dedicated entirely to purple socks with orange polka dots, i’m sure.

    Keep on keepin’ on, mama. It is YOUR space to do with as you wish. the rest of us are just guests here.

  • Ruby - It makes me sad that women can be so mean to each other. I love your blog and you are such an inspiration to me. Merry Christmas!

  • Rebecca - What? Your blog is about….YOU?!?!?!

    Good golly!

    I am always amazed at readers chewing someone out for something they have blogged about(or even respectfully telling them what to write about.) I mean, seriously, a blog is a PERSONAL thing. It ceases to be personal when you feel as though you must write what people want to hear.

    I am a long time reader but I rarely comment because you get so much fan mail already, you don’t really need one more gusher. (Though I didn’t consider you might also get some not-so-nice mail too. Honestly, that is really hard to imagine.

    I have had some similar hate mail and it got to the point where I actually invited people to NOT come to my blog. If you don’t like what you see, you are welcomed to not come again.

    Really, if they don’t like your blog? WHY COME?!?! ugh

    Anyway. Lots of love sent your way from a huge supporter in PA.

    Keep up the good work-in ALL areas of your life.

    Rebecca

  • Katie M - I came to your blog originally for crafty ideas, but I stayed because of you and who you are. I admire your honesty, your passions (all of them), and am so thankful that you don’t plan to change. I want to read all of you! Thank you for the time you spend on this blog and have a very Merry Christmas!

  • Kari Signe - Thank you for not being will to let these kind of comments change your blog in any way. I read your blog every morning and it always brings a smile to my face. It has motivated me to start taking more pictures of my children (thanks to the snapshop class, I have dramatically improved) and to start getting back into crafting. I talk about you to my husband like you are a far away friend that I just haven’t meet yet. You inspire people and are changing the world for the better. Merry Christmas!

  • Jen Logan - There is nothing about your blog I don’t love. You are such an inspiration! I LOVE that you share your faith, I love that you are adopting and sharing the journey with us, I love your photos tips and craft ideas, and I love how your house is decorated. Thanks for all you do and keep on inspiring. Merry Christmas!

  • Angie K - I love your blog :)
    I love the personal touch to your blog.
    I love that you remind me to think bigger than myself and my family.
    I love that you make me want to be a better person.
    I love that you share your firecracker’s amazing personality with us.
    I love that your boys are so kind and boisterous.
    I love seeing your blog in my feed reader giving me the opportunity to slow down for a minute and read the kind words you have written.
    I love your blog. And I would be sad if you didn’t use your voice.
    Thank you for being you. Thank you for sharing all that you are!
    Have a very Merry Christmas.

  • Lisa - I agree. You should post what you want to. You have a good, lovely blog, and if someone doesn’t like a certain kind of post they can skip over those. So simple, but many do not figure this out.

  • victoria g - Yikes. I would not have believed those comments could be said had you not written them! I love that this blog is about what’s going on in your little corner of the world, and that’s a lot of things! You’re not just a crafting machine that can post a daily project that took 49 hours to make, as it is I’m always blown away by what you blogging gals accomplish! And on a day when I’m expecting something made with scrap book paper, and it’s about drinking water, I’m reminded: It’s wonderful to make life beautiful, and that can happen with scrap book paper in our own little homes, and big dreams for clean water in someone else’s home. I’m not a big “commenter” but felt compelled today, as you need to know that many kind thoughts are with you that are never posted, cheering you on in your adoption and “awww!”ing over your kiddos, and being inspired to make something beautiful in our homes. My thoughts and prayers are with you today and I hope I can cancel out one of those hurtful comments.

  • the chronic utilitarian - ashley, a blog should be a haven for you uncontained.
    if others appreciate you uncontained, awesome. if not, they should move on quietly.

    merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

    xox

  • Mel - Ashley,

    forget these people.
    I dont understand them too. If they don’t like your blog or a certain topic, why dont they just quitt visting without making stupid comments?

    I’m not christian. I dont own a seewing machine. I am not adopting… but I love to read your blog.

    I know it’s hard to deal with such stupid critics.
    But: go ahead!

    Greetings from Germany,
    Melanie

  • Shana - I can not even believe someone sent you an e-mail like that. I thought that it has got to be some kind of joke or something. I am just shocked. I LOVE your blog! One of the main reasons I love it is because of how random it is…you never know what kind of reading goodness your going to get that day! Your blog is the first thing I read in the mornings…have I mentioned I love your blog?! Thank you for blogging!

  • Tina - Kudos to you! Keeping true to yourself, and deciding the voice-less are worth it. I enjoy your blog just as it is: a collection of all things I happen to enjoy as well. I’m sorry the negative voices spoke up. But isn’t that all the more reason to speak for the positive? Bravo! On the contrary, thank you for sharing your journey as it enriches my own similar journey.

  • Kathy T - I visit your blog daily just to see what’s new in your part of the world. Keep being you. Ignore the naysayers. I’ll keep coming back. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

  • Alba - Hi Ashley,
    this is YOUR blog.
    I (WE) read it because I (WE) want it, nobody force ME (US) to read it.
    Petonets,
    Alba

  • Jennifer - Always amazes me how some people feel so empowered sitting behind their computer. Your blog is your blog. I completely understand the situation though. My blog was humorous until March when I wrote about having a miscarriage and my subsequent months of going through it. I could tell my own family had had enough of me discussing it but I felt it was helping me “write it” and get it out. My blog is my blog and I’ll write what I want too. I think this was a wonderful post. Keep up writing what you want to write about.

  • Anne - Thankyou for writing and sharing your life. Your blog is one of my favourite daily reads and I love the topics you write on.

  • Dana @ Bungalow'56 - I come daily, though seldom comment.
    Ultimately I am always impressed by your voice.
    Your writing over everything else makes me want to return.
    I am not a crafter.
    Your blog is a wonderful place to visit.
    Thank you.
    Dana

  • janet @ ordinary mom - I am sorry you got an email that was well, gross. Something I am trying to fight in my own life and wish would change in our society is people’s disregard for each other as individuals and intolerance of those differences.

    I don’t consider myself Christian but I have faith. I don’t mind your religious posts and see the person under them, the mother, the lover, the believer.

    I am a mother who will probably not consider adopting. I enjoy reading your process of adoption, your love that has already started, the journey you wish would speed up.

    I accept you for you. I love to read your blog and KNOW it is not there to entertain me. It is not something I pay for, nor do I expect it to follow my whims, like and/or dislikes. It is a way connect us as people. To show our difference and yet bring us closer for them.

    Ignore the people who say they will no longer read. If it is SO hard for them to skip the posts they don’t enjoy, then they will never be happy with what you do or say.

    Be strong. Be honest. Be you.
    xo

  • Brianna - “I kind of think if you don’t like a blog, just don’t read it.”

    Perfectly said! I’m so glad you can ignore those awful unhappy people. I look forward to reading your blog every morning before work. Do I like 100% of what you write? No. Do I agree with you 100% of the time? No. But I always enjoy your fresh, honest, good-hearted opinion. Thank you for keeping up the good work. Many, many of us out here would miss you terribly if you went away.

    All my best,
    Brianna

  • Angela E - Thanks for being you. For every one comment from a complainer, there’s a hundred more of us that appreciate your variety and perspective. Reading your blog brightens my day. There have been several blogs that I’ve stopped reading over the years and it’s always because I end up feeling grumpy over all the negativity expressed on them. I’m so glad you post about all the different stuff you, especially the charity work.
    Also, it’s your blog. I don’t understand why people think they can tell you how to run it.

  • Jenni - UNREAL!!! You just can’t please some people! Why you would write that versus just going to a different blog that is more what you are looking for is beyond me! I think that all that awfulness requires a whole lotta love to make up for it!! You inspire me beyond words! You plus a little breakfast is hands down the best way for me to start my day. It’s like a daily reminder of the kind of mom and person I want to be each and every day!! A girl that can create that pallet bed, take these AMAZING pictures, do insane charitable work and remind people how fortunate we all are with posts about something simple as water? Well if someone doesn’t dig a person like that then we would not get along! lol Keep doing what you so and how you do it because this girl depends on it!!:):)

  • Kathleen - Wow.
    To thine own self be true.

    You will never please everyone so just be yourself, do what you love and push on.

  • Jessica Peppel - Amen Ashley! I like you for you, and I continue to read your blog because I like all of you! The crafting, the parenting, the adoption, everything!!!! Please just continue to be you! Merry Christmas to all of you, and god bless you!

  • Amanda @ Heart Tree Home - Unbelievable. I don’t have kids, I’m not adopting, and I don’t have a fancy camera, but I still enjoy this blog so much. I love that you are open and honest and blog from your heart. Don’t ever change. You can’t please everyone all the time. I rarely ever comment, but I felt like you needed some encouragement sent your way today…

  • NIna - ashley
    i check your blog every morning! I LOVE IT! I never comment, i don’t know why i just don’t, but after i read my utmost, i check your blog next. you inspire me. you inspire me to be a better mom, to be more creative. i think you do an amazing job on here. keep up the great work!
    nina

  • Courtney - and i (and CLEARLY many others!) read BECAUSE you are REAL and YOU. there are SO so many blogs that are just pretty, and nice, and that’s just not what i want to spend my precious few minutes looking at! i want real. something that will inspire and encourage me. and i get that here. thank you!

  • Julie - I love your blog and you should continue to write about what is important to you and not worry about what other people say. It is easy enough not to read a blog if it doesn’t interest you, but I don’t see why people have to be so unkind and write nasty comments. I love the day to day pictures of your children, and must add that the behind scenes pics always make me laugh. Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas from the UK.

  • Deanna C - I love your blog and the fact that it is not just “one note”. If you post on something that I’m not particularly interested in – then I just don’t read it that day. You’re wonderful and so is your blog!!

  • Farrah - I don’t get why people have to be so mean. I find your blog so refreshing. You are real. You are honest. Don’t change a thing :)

  • ashley jensen - You tell em Ash! I will admit that there are alot of blogs (yours included) I read that I don’t believe or feel the same way as the blogger on some subjects, but I am interested other peoples views and what their lives are like, even if it is completely opposite of me. I will not be naive to what this world is like. Your blog is for you, no one else. I will continue to read your blog because you have a beautiful heart, nifty crafts, and some pretty darn cute kids!! Oh and I have read every single one of your photo tips and it has help me tremendously, so thanks for that!

  • Iza - Ashley, I have 4 on my own and really schouldn’t waste time now, and as I never comment (even on great posts), I just have to give You my hug. Good work!
    Blesses from Poland

  • Bridget - I am a follower. I don’t care if every post doesn’t speak to me. That happens with all blogs and in life in general. But incidentally your charitable ones would speak the most! I support your voice and admire you. The wait on China is well worth it!

  • Celia - So many of us love your blog and we would never want to miss any of the things you post on here. You are obviously such a kind person to handle these comments/emails the way you do. Just remember that your family and so many of us online support you! Keep being YOU and allowing us to read ALL of your topics and hear your voice! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  • amy - Ashley – There will always be haters in the world. It is an unfortunate sociological truth. You are doing the right thing. You are a positive role model for all people. It doesn’t matter if we all share the same belief system or live our lives in likeness; what matters is that you are caring, thoughtful, honest, and are active in putting them into motion. Keep it up, you inspire so many to not only be better but to ‘do’ better in their communities and globally. I am truly grateful I have discovered your blog and am thankful for all that you choose to share.

  • Kaytie - I’ll be honest and say that I don’t have children yet, I haven’t gone to church in years and I haven’t been focusing a lot of my money or energy on charities, but I LOVE your blog. I LOVE that it’s challenging me to be a better person, I LOVE the projects, the photo tips, the aesthetic and more importantly the person that you are so generous in sharing with us. I don’t even wait for your post to go to my reader, I just type in your address first thing every morning as I eat my breakfast! Thanks for sharing with us everyday, don’t give those harsh words from others another thought.

  • RobyGiup - Ashley, I love your blog exactly as it is, I love coming here and reading posts sometimes on photography, sometimes on your beautiful children, on the adoption, on crafting and so on.
    And I totally agree with what you wrote: if you don’t like a blog, just don’t read it!!!
    Please, don’t stop being yourself here! :)

  • Jen - i didn’t read anyone else’s comment since i just have a second…so someone may have already said this exact same thing but i just have to say – shew, thank goodness. i’m so glad you aren’t going to change a thing! your blog is absolutely the most perfect mix of life to me and it brings me so much joy and inspiration to hear about your family, crafts & heart for people. nearly everything you do here encourages, challenges or resonates with me. and that’s pretty crazy for a stranger right?

    the great thing about blogs is that if you don’t like one, no one makes you read it. so those folks can find another place that they enjoy.

    thank you for staying true to you and what you love instead of trying to ‘people please’ – it’s a blog, it’s your life – let it represent what you’re really about! LOVE & MERRY CHRISTMAS! j

  • Vy - I love your blog! I love the mix and although I’m not Christian, your thoughts and perspective on family life always hits home for me. Seriously, people who don’t like what they’re reading here, should just not read. Why send such mean spirited words? Didn’t their Mamas tell them if they don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all? Hugs to you and keep doing what you’re doin’! :)

  • amy - Just wanted to say I love your blog!

  • Corey Moortgat - I’ve had some nasty comments (the nastiest one telling me that my daughter was ugly- really? someone spent their time to say something that cruel?) both on my blog and on Amazon in the reviews for my book. THey really do hurt, but I always remind myself that if something is so “controversial” that it offends some people, then it probably really touches others deeply. Your blog repeatedly inspires me to be a better person, because of the good deeds you post about, and if others don’t like that, then they can stop reading. Period!

  • Annabelle - Ashley, do keep writing.
    You are you. And that’s precisely why I’m so addicted to your blog.
    Thanks for writing.
    Thank you for your craft post, mom posts, photography posts.
    And i thank you even more for your charity posts.
    It sounds strange but you did change my life.
    Thank you :)

  • Laura - The randomness is what I enjoy about your blog. Because my life and my interests are just as varied. Don’t be one-dimensional, and don’t change a thing. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

  • Jenn - Good for you Ashley! Stay true to your heart, and your voice!

  • Tara S - Good for you, Ashley! Keep using YOUR voice. This is YOUR blog, and I hope you keep it that way. I love reading! Merry Christmas.

  • Sarah - Ashley, yours is my #1 favorite blog to read and soak up, on top of even the blogs of my “real life friends.” At first I was drawn to your absolutely amazing creative eye, the gorgeous images of your precious family, and your DIY/vintage decorating style which is so similar to mine. I would come and read and be so inspired by the beautiful “stuff” on your blog. But the reason I am drawn to your little spot in the huge world of blogs is that love for Jesus simply radiates off my iphone screen when it’s camped out at your blog. Your tender heart for Jesus, for your family, and for God’s world…it is so evident in every single post, and I have been reading long enough to know this is not something you are striving to accomplish – it is just who you are, what He has done in your life. And Jesus is using you in very mighty ways. We are in the midst of praying through the adoption questions. Satan wants to tell me it can’t work for a million reasons, but you encourage me. And because you have not made your blog just about crafts and DIY, your sweet daughter in China has been prayed for by lots of Christian women who have grown to love your family through your blog – I am sure of that! What a gift you have given her! That is powerful. Last thing – you are always the FIRST to point out that you are not writing or sharing out of pride or seeking fame, and that is just more Jesus shining through. I am very thankful that you share exactly the things you share! God is being glorified! :) Merry Christmas to you and your precious family!!

  • Amy - I sent you a photography question a couple weeks ago and I started to tell you how much I liked your blog, but I figured you got a lot of that. I guess I should have done it! I have been reading your blog for a year and I love it for just the reasons you mentioned today. I love that it’s a mixture of many things that are important to you. I’m with you – if someone doesn’t like it, they should find one they do like. Don’t change a thing. Be encouraged! Merry Christmas!

  • Marie - im still confused as to why people would tell you what to do with your blog. its yours. they may have their own opinions but why would they try to make you feel bad about it? its like going into someone’s home and telling them how to decorate, or telling them they hate your curtains…dont listen to it, this blog is all you, and thats why i come here. & i cant WAIT to see that baby come home….

  • Amanda Hays - I appreciate your blog and all it encompasses! Your honest and fun approach to living a life that glorifies Christ is so refreshing and encouraging! Thanks for what you do!

  • Joanne - I love your blog! Can’t wait for morning to read the next entry! It is “freshness” to a dreary day… and a smile to my heart.

  • Sara - Beautiful!

  • Kelly - The Lord has given you this platform and I feel like it’s one you’ve used well. I don’t think anyone can spend time reading your blog and not know who He is. Your testimony – be it through raising your kids or crafting or the “charity work” – is consistent. And I think that’s the most important thing. Keep on keeping on! You’re doing good!

  • Kelsea - Ashley, I enjoy your blog. Many people enjoy your blog. More then that, your blog is positive, thought provoking, honest, filled with everyday moments, lessons, experiences. It is joy and hope and love. Keep on keeping on!

  • Cate O'Malley - I struggle with the randomness on my own blog sometimes too, but as I’ve explained to my readers, and as you did here, I am not just about one thing. My blog started as a way to document recipes and my then two-year-old son. Now he’s 9, and has a three year old sister. I write about food. Photography. Divorce. Parenting. Relationships. Fashion. Crafting. Decorating. Health and fitness. Major weight loss. It’s random. Because I’M random. As are you. I worried for a bit that that would detract readers, but that’s not why I started writing. It’s like a bad tv show – if you don’t like it, change the channel. I know it’s hard to not be haunted by a negative comment, but just delete, delete, delete and keep on doing what you’re doing.

  • Kelly - I really don’t know what is wrong with people. It seems some people take pleasure in trying to tear others down. If they don’t like the content of a blog they simply don’t have to read it. Why should others feel like they can dictate what YOU put on YOUR blog. I love your blog and ALL of the things you share. DON’T change a thing. I will say a little prayer for all those out in blog-land that feel it is their right to dictate what the rest of us can blog about. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to reading ALL that you have to offer in the new year!

  • emmybrown - Tears started flowing throughout the reading of this…..and they continue. There can be nothing worse sometimes than harsh words….but I’m totally with you on the idea of “if you don’t like the blog, don’t read it”! You are more than lovely, Ashley, and everything within me wants to rise up and shout, “YOU GO GIRL!” You keep using that amazing voice God gave you! Keep writing about what is on your heart, keep sharing your life, keep remaining moved by issues of injustice….all these things reflect the Father’s heart and that is why your blog is so splendid! And, I LOVE that you know who you are enough to stand firm and uphold a “wholeness”, an integrity, to remain true to who you are on YOUR blog! I come each day to get a little experience of *you* and I love it! Thanks.

  • Deanna - Keep on doing what you are doing!!!

  • Amy - Dear Ashley,
    I love your blog and read it every day.
    I come for craft ideas AND for parenting.
    I like your photo tips AND your house decorating.
    Don’t change yourself.
    Your posts are well-thought out and well-spoken. Never disgusting.
    I like to read about your cute kids, orphans AND adopting.
    I love that you talk about your faith. It encourages me to do the same.
    You are making great decisions with your life.

    I am sorry that you have received hurtful comments. I believe that God is pleased with what you are doing with this blog. Don’t change! Merry Christmas!

  • Erica - Thanks for all you do Ashley. I love your take on life and what you stand for, and I think of you as a good Christian influence that I try to fill my life with. And thanks to you, I ordered the “Good Deeds” poster for my pastor and his wife. I hope they love it!

  • Terry of Owasso - I appreciate your energy,creativity,generosity,loving example, and candor. I look forward to your blog every day!

  • logan - I’m a fairly new reader, but I love your blog. and that’s the thing. It’s YOUR blog. It can be whatever you want it to be and you can write about whatever you want to write. I think it’s great what you’re doing and I’m super excited to follow your adoption story. Being adopted myself from South Korea as a 7 month old, it’s something I hold dear to my heart. When I was adopted, 27 years ago, it was VERY uncommon, so I haven’t heard a lot of adoption stories. It makes me happy to know that there are people out there like you advocating for adoption. God bless and keep on writing.

  • April - Always keep in mind for that one unhappy person out there trying to tear down there are plenty of others that love your blog!!! It is “YOUR” blog and you can write what you want and they always can choose not to read! I think you do a wonderful job and your kids are gorgeous!!!

  • Michelle - Ashley, I never comment on blogs that I read, but I wanted to say that your blog is amazing. I have 4 small children and I am a Christian and a stay at home mom and I am a homeschool mom. I appreciate you being “real” on your blog and God has used you in my life through posts about parenting and adopting. I’ve been encouraged through your words to be a better parent and I believe that your blog speaks to a LOT of people that way.

  • katie - thank you for all the hard work you do for your blog. i really appreciate it and i hope that you are encouraged to continue. you are a blessing to many, more than you know.

  • Bonnie - I just want to say, I love your stuff just as it is and appreciate your willingness to put it out there. Whenever you put your creative endeavors out there you know someone is going to be critical- because a very powerful force in this world tries to put down everything that imitates ultimate Creator and does whatever he can to discourage us. plus your adoption journey speaks to some of us who maybe have that desire/fear way down deep unspoken in our hearts…so, thanks!

  • crystal - I actually randomly saw that comment the other day! I wrote out an email to you to encourage you and let you know that yes, this blog entails ALL of who you are and the vast majority know that and appreciate it! Basically, I wrote the main point of what you just wrote. :) I hesitated on sending it in case you had just blown off the comment, I didn’t want to make it a bigger deal for you. I’m so glad you addressed it though!! You are SOOO right on every aspect. Oh, and I had also said that God is using EVERY part of your life that you share to encourage so many many people…those who know you as a friend and those of us who just stalk your blog for all kinds of inspiration. The funny thing was that the comment said they enjoy reading about your kids. Well, your adoptee is one of them of course! hello?!!?! :) :)

  • Liene - Well written, do not change … and be you.

  • Jacqueline - Ashley – thank you for standing up and rising above these comments. Of course, every person is entitled to their own opinion….but to voice it in such a hurtful manner as the comments above is disgraceful. I would say that the defining feature of your blog is that your heart shines through in every post. That is the reason I keep coming back and can’t wait to see what you post next! And I never know what type of post I will find….but that is part of what makes it special. You inspire me in so many ways, from the crafty to the charitable works. Thank you for blessing us all with your words and gorgeous pictures.

  • Anonymous - Your blog is great! I know how even the most ridiculous comment can hurt, even though you know how ridiculous it is. My husband is a pastor and it is AMAZING how people come to tell me what an idiot they think he is, like I’m going to agree with them? I have also had people tell me how their kids never used to cry, whine or throw fits until they spent time with my kids. Wow. Of course I should just blow that off, but it’s so hard to not let that stuff affect you.

    It’s one of the reasons I don’t blog, because I’m sure it would give them more ammo. But I know that hurt people hurt people… something has hurt those folks and they feel the need to pass it on. And when they put you in their own ‘public eye’ it seems that people just forget you’re a real person who feels things too. But Jesus remembers. :)

    ALL that to say keep up the great work!

  • Julia - I LOVE your blog. I found it in the spring and haven’t missed a post since. Just continue being who you are. I’ve only posted once (after you announced your plans to adopt, since I have two daughters that were born in China), but every day I find myself smiling at your photo’s, laughing at your kids antics, aspiring to be more creative, and so on… And I believe there’s a whole lot more people like me out there that look forward to every post, than those who are disenchanted by a topic they think is not their cup of tea.

    Hugs to you and your family, and I look forward to seeing Christmas pictures next year that hopefully have that space in the middle all filled up. :-)

  • Charity - Ashley, I <3 reading your blog… You are true to yourself and that is rare and very refreshing! A lot of the blogs I read I stop reading eventually because it becomes so much like all the other blogs… I love how you remind me often of what is really important… Crafting is fun… Decorating is fun… But there are much more important things in our lives that deserve our attention… Keep it up girlie!!

    Your loving reader,
    Charity- mom of 3 littles

  • Becca R - Ashley, I don’t normally comment, but I faithfully read your blog. Thank you for sharing our life with us. I enjoy reading a the different aspects of your life. You encourage me to be more than a hearer of the Word and more of a doer.
    Keep it up!!

  • Kim - All those things you listed are exactly why I come here every day! Thanks for letting us in to your life!

  • BeckyH in MA - Your blog is about what YOU are passionate about.
    And that’s the way it should be.
    Thank you for making me smile in so many different ways! :)

  • Danielle - One of the greatest things about your blog is how you stay true to you and your family. Don’t change a thing! Every morning I look forward to reading your blog and know I will see something creative, inspiring, thought provoking, or uplifting. Thank you for your honesty and inspiration!

  • Juliette - Good grief. I really don’t understand the people that feel the need to spend their time writing emails like that; do they think you’re really going to suddenly change?

    Yes, if you don’t like a blog, don’t read it. Goodness.

    I love this blog for the variety and the humanity (seeking grace). I love that. Keep up the good, Ashley-style work! It has been a true pleasure!

  • Rachael - I absolutely love your blog the way it is!! Don’t ever change a thing…it’s perfect!!! Your kids are too cute and you and your husband are the greatest!!! My sister and I love to read your blog and then gush about how much we love you! Every time we see wonder woman anything we think of your little Firecracker!!!
    Merry Christmas!

  • Caitlin - What you’ve said here is quite right! People who sent you those messages are completely out of line. It’s your blog and your message. And I for one, enjoy reading all of it!

  • kristy.lynn - i’ve been following your blog for well over a year now, and to be honest, i haven’t crawled out of the woodwork very often to comment, solely because i didn’t feel like i had something to say other than. ‘WOW. I LOVE THIS/IT! & YOU ARE AMAZING!’… and i felt like that would get lost in a sea of your daily comments…

    but when you say something like this, i just need to put my two cents in…

    i just don’t get it when people think they can TELL you what to blog about. it’s YOUR blog. so you don’t like the bits that don’t pertain to crafting, click through! i can tell you, for me personally, the crafting drew me in, the person made me stay. i have a dozen or more blogs i follow, and it’s the same with everyone. i start because of some crafts, but the ones i continue to read daily are ones who have lives that inspire me as a person.

    you’re blog has from day one inspired me to be a more patient parent, a more thoughtful friend, and a more well rounded person in general. i’d love to call you friend in real life. i’d be proud in fact!!

    i’m so glad you aren’t letting a few bad apples squash your voice. keep it loud & proud girlfriend!!! :)

  • Meredith - It’s your blog – please write about whatever you want. If someone doesn’t like it, then they can move on. I don’t understand the need to post things like this. The many facets of your blog are what keeps it interesting. I’m a long time reader and don’t want you to change a thing, unless you want to :-) Merry Christmas!!!

  • Kelly (Kelly is Inspired) - I love your blog! Never will understand the haters. If they don’t like it why do they read and why why why would they darken your doorstep with their nasty, thoughtless comments…

  • Jill R. - Sorry the Grinch made his way to your house this year! For me, your blog is inspiring and makes me want to be a better mother, a better disciple, a better friend…..it even makes me want to think I could possibly be crafty one day, although that may never happen. ; ) thank you thank you thank you for putting yourself out there….your blog brings me joy! Have a super Merry Christmas!

  • Michelle - I am in tears reading this. . . I am so sorry people have been so mean to you. I love reading your blog because you are a lot like me. I am encouraged and challenged by your heart on a regular basis. Let you light shine-your treasure is in heaven.

  • Stephanie - There has been many days when I am struggling with positive thoughts about my life and raising my two crazy boys. Your words on parenting and/or attitude towards parenting issues have more than once totally redirected my thoughts to seeing the positive. You have more validity to give advice to me because you have boys. You get it. Plus, you are a Christian. That is the crux of why I read this blog. Also, the fact that you love to craft makes me feel like I have something in common with you. Without one of those parts of your blogging, you would be less interesting and I probably wouldn’t get on each day to see what you have to say to “me.” Not every topic has been 100% relevant to my life, but who cares? That’s not the point in a blog. Keep doing what you enjoy because the world is benefiting…especially this momma in West Virginia.
    -Stephanie

  • Jes - I found your blog because I googled “pirate eye mask”. I love your blog because of your voice, even if your lifestyle is different than mine. Keep using your voice.

  • Amy @ Lovely Nest - I’m getting so tired of other people thinking they should be able to control what we think or say. This is YOUR creative outlet. You do with it what you want and those of us who enjoy it will keep reading. If others don’t like it, I don’t understand why they don’t just stop reading. Keep doing what makes you happy and don’t let the negative comments get you down. I, for one, really enjoy your blog and always look forward to what you have to say! It’s refreshing to see more of who people are by things other than just crafts or DIY projects. That window to getting to know more about someone is what I enjoy most about personal blogs!

  • Becky - I know that you are (hopefully!) going to get a bunch of positive feedback today, but I just had to chime in. I love your blog. The very things that turn a few people off about your blog make it just what I need to hear. Reading about what the Lord is doing in your heart and family, reminds me that I care about those things too, and want to be listening to Him as I make choices as a mom. And did anyone tell you that Ann Voskamp highlighted one of your posts on her blog?! Talk about affirmation! Blessings.

  • MichelleD. - Some people want nothing more than to cause others pain. No one can please everyone and it is in fact YOUR blog- if they don’t like it they can stop visiting. God bless you, Ashley. Don’t let them get to you.

  • Jenny S - I am a frequent reader but very infrequent commenter. I hope you know that you touch MANY lives through your blog. I’m sorry on behalf of those of us who don’t comment frequently enough, but who have been moved to tears from your posts. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is an honor and a privilege to be let into your life.

  • Trish - haters gonna hate.
    in a way you are being persecuted for doing what God has put on your heart. speaking truth that is not always easy to hear or pleasant!
    your heart is so sweet and i love reading your blog :)
    happy day to you!

  • kathleen - You go girl! Although I don’t think you don’t owe anyone an explanation for doing what you want to do on you own BLOG! If they want to read they will. If not, so be it. Just found you today because my friend posted on FB :)

  • Andrea - I LOVE YOUR BLOG JUST THE WAY IT IS!!!! I am always thankful to see your real life! You inspire and bless me at the same time! Please don’t change a thing!

  • Jill - While I wholeheartedly agree with every word you have written I think it boils down to two words you wrote in paragraph 4′ish….my blog. It’s your blog. Hence, it’s your voice. Shout it from the rooftops!

  • drea - I love your blog. You seem like a very sweet, genuine person…in fact, if we weren’t a state away (I’m in ks), I’m betting we would be friends. ;) I appreciate your honesty and humility…and you even wrote back to me when I emailed you asking how you’re sure it is God when faced with a big, faith filled step to take…and if somehow you remember that email, I’ll let you know that it *was* God leading us, and He has just amazed us these last few months.
    I’m sorry for your hateful emails. My skin is thin too, and that’s tough to take, especially from a stranger. I think they forget that the writer is a real person, but that doesn’t make it ok to be mean.
    thanks for your honesty…keep doing what you’re doing…many more of us love your blog than those who don’t. :)

  • Sarah - Love everything about this blog, my first stop every morning, don’t change a thing.

  • Colleen - Ashley,
    I am new to your blog but I love it! I would not change a thing. you can’t please everyone and if they don’t like it they really don’t have to read it. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

  • Debbie C - Ashley, your blog is one I read daily b/c I love being inspired by what you do, not just visually with crafts/photography but also by your heart for others. Please keep blogging! And I totally agree…if someone doesn’t like a blog for whatever reason, they should just move on. I don’t understand the need to control someone else’s blog.

  • Jenna B - I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. Yours is one of my favorites because I never know whet the topic of your post will be about. You keep me guessing and coming back for more. I love your heart and how compassionate you are for others. A heart for Jesus! I pray 2012 is awesome for you and your family and that your sweet child comes home to your loving arms!

    A loyal blog follower,

    Jenna

  • LSW - I’ve been following your blog for a while now & truly enjoy it. If I’m not interested in the topic after a few lines I don’t read it. That simple. But the blog is yours & therefore you get to write about whatever you want to share. You bring light to topics that someone may not think about because it is not necessarily a blog about “that.”

    Keep sharing & posting, you are appreciated!

  • heather prins - wow i can’t believe someone would write that kind of comment to you. Who has the right to tell you what to blog about? crazy!

  • Miranda - Atta girl! Well said! Please don’t let other tell you what kind of blog to write, this is your space about your life, who you are and who God is calling you to be. I am so thankful you share all of your unique life with us.

  • Jessica - I love your blog just the way it is!

  • Roianne - Love the blog! I especially love all the different topics you cover, makes me always want to come back to see what you and your family are up to. It’s so great to see the organizations that you support and helps me get connected to things that I wouldn’t even know about. Thanks for sharing your heart and letting us in to your daily life :)

  • Lucija - Dear Ashley!

    I love to read your blog! I love your photo tips, I love your craft ideas, I love watching your kids, ´cause your kids are really awsome, I love your notes of parenting and I enyoj every post you wrote about adoption, I even cry sometimes, don´t know why, is it because there are so many sad childrens life stories or is it because all the people who are trying to make a difference, like you and your husband do. So, just keep writing the way you do:-)

    Love from Croatia.

  • Leila - God bless you! Just keep your voice, which is wonderful and fresh! Personally, I love that you are REAL!
    And you have amazing energy.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  • Abigail - proud of you…you have a beautiful voice, thank you for sharing it and letting us have a glimpse of your life (with all the important parts that make it up), for sharing vulnerably and boldly!

  • Rachel - May I say…
    Your blog has become one of my favorites since I discovered it a few months back. While I was originally drawn to it because of your focus on photography and crafts (two of my passions), I now read your blog with fondness BECAUSE you speak freely of your faith in Christ (the most important of passions in my life).

    Please don’t stop.

    Merry Christmas! :)

  • Amy G - Sweet Ashley~ I have never left a comment before- (bad blogger) but I just wanted to say that you have a beautiful voice. I am so thankful that you are able to hear God’s voice and allow Him to speak through you. You have encouraged me in so many ways. I am also (in a gooby way) proud of you , that you were able to speak from your heart today, and not allow the negative emails get the best of you. It is so interesting (carefully chosen word) that others would assume that you’re writing to please them. You have a beautiful and bright life that shines His love radiantly, and I am thankful I get to read about it. If you get a chance today, listen to the song ‘Remind Me Who I Am’ by Jason Gray- it’s a good one- my theme song. :) Blessings to you! You are incredibly loved and I hope you feel that today.

  • Amy Beachy - I love your blog for what it is. you give us a look into your life. all aspects. that’s why I enjoy it.

  • Tonia - Merry Christmas to your family!

  • Danielle - What happened to the saying… if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all? Very interesting post today… I understand why you felt the need to write, however I am lost as to why you received the emails you did. We are free to come and go from this blog as we wish. I may not relate to every single last post your write, but if I did how boring that would be. I don’t follow many blogs… yours is really the main one I do follow. The reasons are that we both have four (B B G B)children so I can very much relate to that part of your life. I am a photographer so can also relate to your photography posts. I like to bring beauty into our home in little ways, cost effective ways and you have shared so much about that. The rest of our lives are not the same and that part of you is probably what makes me most interested in reading your blog. In differences we learn so much… about each other and ourselves. Your blog makes me laugh, cry, shake my head in agreement, wonder, inspire, learn, try new things, relate, see the ordinary in a new light, and experience another Mom’s journey of the heart. I appreciate your beautiful voice and hope that you choose to share it for a long time to come.

  • Betsy - I happen to love everything about your blog!

    I am what I call a lazy quilter so my blog has my quilting projects that aren’t always done to the more serious quilters standard.
    I am a mother of four, and we all parent differently….
    I am a Christian! Nothing is more important!
    I don’t have a fancy camera but maybe one day…

    My blog is filled with life, and I love yours because it is life!

  • Amy Beachy - I love your blog for what it is. you give us a look into your life. all aspects. it is the reason I read it!

  • Natasha J - i am a new follower to your blog and i found it thru a giveaway you were having. i dont follow many photography blogs but i never unsubscribed because i loved the photo tips (for my husband) and lookind at the adorable pix of your kids…. this just may because i am a stay at home mom who is at home during the week and dosent leave the house…..but i love hearing about other peoples family and how they live. i love people who are passionate about their faith, family, and causes they fully support, that is a part of us. and if someone dis agrees and does not read your blog, it is at their loss.

  • Jessica @ Two Shades of Pink - I have so many things I want to say to this post that I fear it will not make sense but I am going to start writing anyway. I am a crafter, blogger, adoptive parent, previous foster parent, a daughter of the King, and a joyful follower of YOU. I love your blog. I’m actually in awe of this post because I stopped doing personal stuff on my blog due to highly inappropriate traffic and finding my daughter’s photos in places they should not be. Yet I am so moved and inspired by your courage to maintain your blog as platform for the things you care about. And I love reading every word! I think I officially wanted to be your friend with your mouse in the kitchen post HA! And I too have thin skin so I can really relate. IT feels like you are rejected somehow yet when I boo hoo on hubby’s shoulder he encourages me to focus on those that are loyal readers and those that have become PRECIOUS Friends. I know I am a friend among many but I just HAD to comment to remind you of your fabulousness. And I too am haunted by that saying…my kids will learn more from what I do then what I say. So know you have another person cheering you on and so thankful for your heart and your words.

  • mernin - nicely said.

  • Heather R. - Ashley, I just wanted you to know that I discovered your blog about a year ago and I have enjoyed every moment. Your enthusiasm and verve is contagious, and that’s the biggest thing I take with me after reading your posts. Your real-life adventures, beautifully documented with your artful photos remind me of how precious and fleeting and special moments with loved ones truly are. Your thoughts on adoption, and every tedious step you have to take in the process of adopting, makes me wonder if my parents went through the same things when they adopted my younger brothers. It takes me back to when I was just 11 years old and started praying every day for a little brother.
    I’m so thankful you have a voice, Ashley. You will never know how many lives you have touched because you choose to share your voice with us.
    Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  • Lucy - I appreciate that you show so many different sides to your life. None of us are one-sided. When I read your posts about different subjects it helps me with encouragement to keep my own balls up in the air. Thank you.

  • katie R. - Amen. The epitome of clinging to James 1:27! Thanks for sharing Ashley!!!

  • Erin - Thank you for a beautiful lesson for all us: may we never let seeking the approval of men stop us from doing that which warms our Father’s heart.

    A very blessed Christmas to you and your family.

  • Brooke - very well put ashley. and you are so right, this is your blog and a place for you to express who you are and what is important to you. and it’s true, if someone doesn’t like it they just have to stop reading the blog. i really am surprised sometimes what people are willing to write when they don’t have to put a face to their name. you are a good woman who is making a positive difference in the on-line community. keep up the good work.

  • Lee - Well put! Like so many others, I really enjoy your voice and your blog is one of my favourite visits each day :) Merry Christmas!

  • Myra - I think your blog is wonderful

  • Jane - Your blog is one of the few that I’ve actually felt a connection to. It feels like it is written by a real person and I love that! Thanks for being you and sharing your unique self with everyone!

  • angie - I adore your blog & everything you write about!

  • Jenny TM - Ashely, you’re right this blog is not aimed for everyone. If they don’t like, they can stop following it. Do not let that be the discouragement because there are plenty folks like me who follow your blog religiouly every day. Every single post, every single picture is BEAUTIFUL!! You don’t know how much we appreciate that you sharing your life with us. We never met, but I feel like I know you for long time. Keep on doing what you do, no need to change for anyone!

  • Fran R - Oh sweet sister…PLEASE continue to blog and share your journey through this crazy life. You are beautifully spoken and thought provoking…As another momma who is in the midst of adopting (from Ethiopia) I LOVE that you can say exactly what my heart is thinking.

  • Laura - Well said and good for you! I found your blog only recently and have enjoyed every day. It’s been so nice to read from a compassionate, Christian, crafting, mom and wife. Keep it up!

  • Andrea - Ashley,
    I have been following your blog for a little over a year now and it is my little happy place in the morning. I look forward to logging onto my computer at work and checking out your post. I wish you the best Christmas with your family. Please continue to do what you do. It brings joy to so many!

    BTW- I recently made your cakestand with the vintage tin and I am in love! It’s so adorable, thank you for sharing your many talents.

  • Julie - I rarely comment, but I want to today to let you know that I love your blog just exactly as it is. I enjoy your voice very much and find it very inspiring to me. Hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas.

  • Sadie - I love this blog… all parts of it. It brightens my day. Keep doing what you love. :-)

  • Sarah - Ashley, I love your blog! It it the first thing I read in the morning when I sit down with my coffee. I look forward to hearing about your family and finding encouragment for the day ahead. I also get giddy when you post about your newest project. I love that YOUR blog is a true reflection of you.

  • Charity - I’m into ALL the same thing you are into! I love your blog :-) I know how one mean comment can overshadow 100 nice ones, and that is why I am scared to start a blog of my own. I don’t understand how people can be so mean online… but ignore them! They are the minority :-) Maybe have a friend or your husband monitor comments so that you never have to see the mean ones? That’s what I would do, because I don’t have thick skin either :-) Keep up the awesome blog!

  • Bethany - “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)” This is what God calls us to do. Thank you for not letting other people’s selfish opinions keep you from God’s calling.

  • Erin - I sit here in utter shock that anyone could be so cruel and even more-so that they could not like your blog! Your blog is the only one I go to everyday! It is inspiring, so do not take rude comments to heart. You are loved by many!

  • Jenn W - Bah Humbug! I don’t quite understand why everyone feels the need to voice their criticisms. I started following your blog after seeing your first presentation at A Christmas Gathering. Now I will admit I am not always interested in what your topic of the day might be, but it is my choice not to continue reading that day. THIS IS YOUR BLOG! Your thoughts, ideas and opinions. You have invited people into your life and they always have the option to leave. It is a shame they can’t do it graciously.

    Continue what you do and being who you are. You are an inspiration!

  • Nichanh - You are right Ashly. It is your blog and I feel for you when stressing over it. What I tell people is if you don’t like it then hit the road. There are some people that feel the need to insult someone else’s talent and what they love. It is freedom of speech and you should be able to write whatever you want. If they don’t like it they can stop reading it. Common sense. I think your work is amazing. Just carry on and be your cute self.

  • Sarah W - There are so many things I could say. But I’ll keep it short…
    You are an inspiration… As a mom, a wife, a photographer, a ‘crafter’, a Christian. Don’t stop using your voice. Don’t stop letting this blog be personal. I love that it’s about all that you are.
    Merry Christmas!

  • Robyn - I will never understand why people feel the need to say negative things to a blog they CHOOSE to come read. Its not a mandatory part of their day… I adore your blog… your style, your outlook on life, and things you do. it makes me want to be a better person and mommy. don’t pay any mind to the negative nelly’s in the world! keep doing what you do so well!

  • becca g - Ashley, your voice is beautiful. I love your blog because it is not so narrowly defined. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Carrie - You’re a beautiful person and I appreciate you giving us a glimpse into your life and the things you care about. Keep on keepin’ on.

  • Tamra - thank you, thank you, thank you for giving a voice to the children that do not have one and for continuing to speak on their behalf in spite of resistance. i am super passionate about the orphan and within weeks of finalizing our adoption of 2 orphans from foster care. adoption is life-changing for everyone involved! :)

  • Carrie - You’re a beautiful person, and I appreciate you giving us a glimpse into your life and all the things you care about. Keep on keepin’ on.

  • Amy M - I think all those people are nuts. Your blog has been my favorite of all the blogs I follow since the day I found it. I’m always inspired by you – whether its to stop and consider the light or angle when I’m taking a picture, or thinking of ways to repurpose things around the house, or looking for ways to give back to others. I think you’re fab. :)

    A lot of the reasons you mentioned above are why I havent started a blog yet, although I want to. What would I blog about? I dont fit into a category – my blog would be an absolute mess of personal finance, horses, dogs, attempts at crafting and photography, and searching to find my place. Who would read that? What if people dont like me? What if I offend people? I, too, am thin skinned and wouldnt deal with harsh words well.

    Maybe it doesnt matter. Maybe I should do it because *I* want to do it. Just like you. Thanks for being an inspiration!

  • Deanna - I love your blog….because it is REAL. You are a real person with real feelings and I am sorry that others feel that they can criticize you without putting themselves out there too. If they don’t like your blog….they don’t have to read it….but I hope you continue because there are so many of us who enjoy your blog…..and the fact that maybe you make us think about some of the things we want to ignore but shouldn’t. Thank you Ashley….for keeping it REAL and sharing your many gifts with grace.

  • J. Garoutte - “Don’t be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don’t be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they’ve done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.

    “When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don’t quit. Don’t cave in. It is all well worth it in the end…

    “Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now.

    “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.

    Matthew 10:17-28 (The Message)

  • jeannett - Bring it my friend.
    Do not waste your voice.
    Do not waste your platform.
    Women had no voice not so long ago.
    What a shame to be silent and acquiescent.
    Our great grandmothers would be disheartened to know we wasted our resource…a resource they weren’t afforded…not simply because the technology didn’t exist, but because they weren’t considered worth hearing.
    What a sad day if God’s name was missing from such an integral part of your life.
    What else should we be doing if His name isn’t glorified, His Kingdom isn’t furthered, and His people not served?

    Keep on keeping on.
    There is beauty.
    Let it shine.

  • Charity - I am into ALL the same things you are into! I LOVE your blog! I know how one mean comment can overshadow 100 nice ones…but try to ignore those mean comments because they are certainly the minority. Maybe have a friend or family member monitor comments for you, so you never have to see those few mean comments. That is what I would do, because I don’t have thick skin either :-) Keep up the awesome blog!

  • Marie - Memories, musings and meanderings in a random, rambling, aimless sort of way. That’s how I describe my blog. That’s whyI like your blog…it’s a very similar (From a much younger perspective!). My daughter has read your blog for quite some time and she told me about a year ago that I should read it too. I’m so glad she did – I have loved meeting your sweet family and I am blessed each time I visit…no matter what you’ve posted for the day. I come because it’s always a sweet surprise!

    Have a joy-filled Christmas!!

  • Casey Wrenn - Ashley- You said it yourself you are a wife, a mother, a christian, and this is your blog. You have the freedom to say and share anything you want. Keep it up I love your blog. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that there are more people out there in the world that care about other children, that want to adopt, that want to share their faith!

  • Michelle - I read your blog because YOU make it interesting and real. I can’t count how many times I’ve referenced your blog to my husband or a friend because I was touched or tickled by some story. And as much as I love crafts and DIY, it is not those things that I share, but the stories about your five kids, your charitable work, your faith. I came for the crafts, but stayed for the other things, the things that make you YOU. Your faith amazes and challenges me because you live it out. Thank you!

  • Denise - Before I brewed my coffee and turned on the computer today, I had a rare, early morning time with God and my journal and the Bible. I was writing out a “conversation” with Him, and the focus turned out to be how He does not want me to make decisions in life based on avoiding pain or deciding for myself which pain is worth going through and which pain isn’t. And then your entry today fit right in. (Comments like that would cut me to the bone!) I LOVE your blog, Ashley. I love that it is a “life” blog–whatever that may encompass on your journey. Your “honest self” (as Fred Rogers calls it) is an encouragment to my “honest self.” :)

  • Megan - Our blogs are like electronic representations of the humans that God created… unique, complex and filled with the gifts that He has blessed each of us with. You’re so gifted and I feel blessed for being able to learn and be inspired by what you do. Merry Christmas!

  • Jess - Ashley -
    I love your blog and everything about it. I love that I can read your posts each day and each one is different, covering a variety of items. Don’t let one (or two) bad apples spoil your fun! Keep up the great work and Happy Holidays!

  • Donna A - I admire and respect you for the diversity of your blog. That’s part of the reason I return each day to read new posts. You should be able to post what interest you on your own blog and make it what you want it to be. If it doesn’t interest someone, they can choose not to read it. Stay true to yourself and continue as you have been. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family.

  • Julie - I love your blog! It has inspired the way that I write mine. Please keep doing what you are doing.

  • Diana Sutherland - You go Ashley! I wouldn’t read anything less personal this much! I was so in love with your post about believing for $40,000 for the adoptions!! I read it aloud to my husband and cried (I am adopted and want to adopt and want to Believe like this is general!). I am so glad for your choice to be you; I think real is what brought you here and you have some real things to talk about! Just wanted to shout out some encouragement to your tastefully made public decision! I concur and think I will take your courage as inspiration to do the same in blogging:)

  • tara - This is your blog. They don’t have to read it if they don’t want to. Who cares.
    You are doing what you feel is right for you. Keep on doing it!

  • Sarah - I follow just two blogs daily, yours being one of them. I often think I could never write a blog because I have thin skin, and would not be able to take the mean things that just a few people might say. I like what you have to say and would love it if you would NOT change anything. It is really easy to write something critical to a stranger. You don’t hide behind the few lines in a comment section! Thanks for writing this, and for caring about something other than yourself!!

  • Leslie - Asheley, you are doing what Jesus commanded us to do. I love all your post, EXPECIALLY the ones that show your heart. It’s your blog, keep posting about whatever you want!

  • Erin - I love reading your blog and your families daily antics. Your kids are adorable and they crack me up. Your craft projects are amazing, and your charitable stories and adoption stories are so heart warming. It’s sad that you even felt the need to create a post like this. If someone is not finding exactly what they want on your blog, they have the option to stop reading.

    Keep on, keeping on! You’ve got a happy reader right here! :)

  • Jodi Rothfeld - Dear Ashley-

    Let me start by saying that I am really in awe of the audacity of what people write via the internet. It’s unbelievable. If they don’t like it don’t read it. And I am so glad you are not fully affected by the comment to the point of stopping what you are doing. That would be heartbreaking for all of us that come here for inspiration.

    I have a blog and although I have zero followers, I still blog. I have been told that the reason my blog is not good is because I don’t hyperfocus. I am like you. Very random. That’s why I come here, you are my role model. You remind me that it’s okay not to have to be perfect at one thing, you can do many things. And you are the BEST at it, that’s why you are so successful.

    I am also of Jewish faith and I love reading your posts about religion. You see, you use religion the way it should be used. You use it to show that out of your faith you are guided to HELP people to be a GOOD person. What you don’t do is use your religion to judge people. And I am in tears right now because that’s what is most important. That’s what is going to help heal this world we live in.

    So, I am sorry that someone wrote those awful things. You of all people don’t deserve it. Keep on blogging from your heart and keep on inspiring.

    Happy holidays,
    Jodi

  • Allison - Amen!!! Preach it, sister. You continue to be YOURSELF and USE your voice for the things that are important to YOU! This is your blog that God has given you. AMEN. AMEN. AMEN. Keep doing what you are doing. You will never please all and you are not called to please all. High five! Can I drive to Oklahoma and come give you a hug and high five?!!
    – a daily reader who doesn’t post comments very often

  • Sarah - Amen, sister!!!

  • Kim Bernhardt - You also have a choice, to share yourself on YOUR blog how you want to. Others have the choice to read it or not. Good reddens to those who “will never read your blog again” you just left more room for those of us who LOVE your blog. Thank you for sharing your life and speaking up for all that you believe in.

  • C. Jane - Thank you for blogging and allowing God to use your words to pass on wisdom. I’m young, married just 2 years, and expecting my first baby. I’m not a parent yet, but I never tire of your posts about parenting. Your beautiful heart is such an encouragement to me, and I love that you share your ideas on how to be a more Godly parent and stronger follower of God. You heart is so hard after God & that’s a beautiful thing! I know it’s not all sunshine blogging, but please stay encouraged that God’s using your blog every day in amazing ways. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • Katie - I love reading your blog because you are who you are. Don’t change it.

  • Carmen - Thanks for EVERYTHING you share. Your blog inspires me and makes my heart smile. For that, I’m grateful.
    Happy Christmas!

  • Erin - Ashley- I think I should start by apologizing for all of us who are daily inspired by your blog, but fail to say ‘thank you’ or let you know that God used you at just the right time in our lives. Unfortunately, I (and I’m guessing many others) are encouraged and inspired by your life and the many roles you manage so well, yet I forget to tell you how much you challenge me to be exactly who God has called me to be.
    So Thank You for being you. Never stop using your voice to bring HIM glory and honor!

  • Tracie K - Very well said!!! Happy Holidays and enjoy that wonderful growing family of yours!!

    xoxo from California

  • lindseyleif - you have a beautiful heart, and it’s poured out in your beautiful blog. the lord is working through you, and it’s clear that through this wonderful space you share with the internet world – you’re being “attacked”……stand firm, keep sharing and believing. and remember, hebrews 4.16: let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may find mercy and grace in time of need.
    may the lord give you the grace you need to sustain through such nasty digs….. you’re SO creative, talented, and i think your inspiration keeps many of us stayathome mommas goin! thank YOU!
    keep spreading the good news.

  • Rachel B. - Romans 12:20.
    God is working and those negative comments are proof!
    You are an example of His light shining through your work.
    Be blessed and thank you for sharing your blog!

  • christa - AMEN! Nobody forces people to read your blog (or any blog) so if there is a topic that makes them uncomfortable or they disagree with then they can just skip over that post. Or if they are the type of person to leave a mean comment….then you don’t want that type of person around here!!

    Stick to your heart and do your thang! :)

  • Lexi - As children of God we are called to life our life as a whole. We are moms, wives, sisters, daughters, teachers…. we are not to separate life into little boxes and put parts of us into each one. Thank you for not living life in a box.

  • Tamara - LOVE LOVE your blog
    Don’t lose sleep over those you can’t please
    Your blog is a favorite and brings genuine smiles and I love it’s truth and variety
    It inspires

  • Jennifer - I love you blog and everything on it. Please do not change anything. Sounds like this is just not the blog for the email writer, and she was just being rude and sending the email. What does anyone care if she doesn’t like it…she has a choice to not read…she will just miss out on a great family and wonderful crafting and photography tips!!

  • ginna - Ouch! What painful words. It’s amazing how one negative comment can mean more to us than hundreds of positive. So I thought I would be one of the hundreds to comment and say how amazing your blog is and how I love everything you post. And what I appreciate most about your blog is your authenticity. So don’t let it get you down. You’re a wonderful blogger and I’m thankful for your words each day. Happy holidays to you and your family! xx

  • Sarah - Thank you, Ashley! Your blog is my absolute favorite! Please keep sharing with us. Your blog brightens rainy days.

  • ashlee - The reason I read your blog is because you are so real. I LOVE that you refuse to let us forget about those in need. When life gets busy its easy to forget that there is injustice going on all around us. I cannot thank you enough for keeping these things prominent. I love seeing your home and your crafty ideas but there is more to life than crafts. I have been a daily reader since you were pregnant with B and I will continue to be because I love your heart. Thank you for making me a better mom by making my kids as well as myself more aware of what the world holds and encouraging us to make a difference and use our voice. Your voice is irreplaceable in the blog world.

  • Katey - Thank you for standing firm. It is far too common to see people fold to the “ideal” of making others “comfortable”. You are an amazing woman with an amazing heart. Be encouraged!

  • Bekah - Thanks for not compromising, I love your blog. You gave me hope that I could find people like me in a new little city half way across the country from my home. Thanks for introducing me your Tulsa, and for sharing your joy and faith here everyday. Merry Christmas!!

  • Tiffany - Thank you for using your voice. You are doing great things and I know the Lord is pleased.

  • Sandra - Dear Ashely,I’m one of your followers from overseas (Europe) – I love following your blog with your wide variety of topics – it starts my head spinning and considering many things from a different point of view. Reducing yourself to craft- or photorelated subjects would mean a real loss for the blogging community. Thank your for your wonderful blog and I hope it will stay the same.
    Merry Christmas from Germany
    (- and I hope my English is understandable)

  • sara - I’ve never understood the people that leave mean comments on blogs. Why bother? if you don’t like something you are reading or looking at then leave the website! I know everyone has the right to their own opinion but come on. words CAN hurt. I’m sorry you’ve had to read those negative comments; just remember that the vast majority of people that read your blog love it! I love not knowing what i’m going to get from you from day to day. one day it’s a craft, one day a new technique to try with my camera, and one day a post so moving and touching it will bring tears to my eyes. keep up the good work I will be back every day!

  • Lennie - I follow your blog and I love the randomness :) Good for you for standing up for yourself and what you enjoy and believe in. It takes all kinds, respect their opinions as you want them to respect yours and keep doing what you do best. It takes all kinds! Merry Christmas and may God bless your 2012.

  • Courtney - Hi! I LOVE this blog! I look forward to reading it everyday. I am not a mom or a wife, I don’t own a home to renovate, I am not extremely religious, and I only pretend I know what I’m doing with my Canon. Needless to say, everything you post doesn’t perfectly relate to me, but I still read because I love your pictures, I love the stories, and I am continually inspired by your philanthropy. Behind the curtain of anonymity of the internet, people can be shamefully rude and crass. Please don’t let the negatrons to get you down. And please don’t change your blog. It’s great just like it is. :)

  • Sara - Thank you! I’ve just found and followed your blog but I like you/it already!! Keep blogging about what is important to you and try not to allow the negativity of people to get in the way….

    Sara
    http://iamtheonewiththecamera.blogspot.com/

  • Amanda - Ashley – Your blog was the first blog I discovered over a year ago and is what got me hooked on the world of blogging. I was drawn into your blog the week you wrote about your Hawaii vacation because I had just gotten back from my honeymoon in there and couldn’t get enough of all of your pictures. The way you write about, photograph, and and most importantly, live your life is so inspirational, I think I read through all of your archives that first week in every spare moment I had because I just couldn’t stop reading. Your blog is the first blog I read every morning, and part of what draws me in is never knowing what you’re going to post about but knowing that it will always be well written, beautifully photographed and leave me feeling inspired to do good for others or just live the best and happiest life I can live for myself and my family. Anyway, all of those people commenting negatively really must have nothing better to do if they’re not only spending the time reading a blog they don’t enjoy but taking the extra time to comment on it…. So thank you for blogging the way you do, it’s wonderful just the way it is! Wishing you and the family a *Very Merry Christmas*!

  • Allison - You have tons of readers who enjoy your realness, and they outweigh the mean ones by many. =)

  • Shanlea - Amen! You obviously see the love pouting out of your comments. One thing I am learning is that when I am real with myself and others God is faithful to bless that. God has given you a place to share His truth and people aren’t going to like it, but he told us that. Keep writing. Keep sharing even when it is hard.

  • Christen - Yours was the first blog I ever subscribed to. I love your random blogs. I feel at home here – because I’m fairly random – ok – quite random – myself! I share some of the same passions that you do and it’s nice to feel I’m not alone.
    Thank you for your honesty and authenticity. Do your blog the way you want to girlie.

  • Karen P. - I enjoy your blog in each and every way that you share your life, family, crafting, photography, thoughts and charitable work. Keep doing what you are doing. There always has to be the people out there that want to burst other’s bubbles. Keep doing what you are doing. I will always be here to support you!! Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful family :)

  • Madaline Meatte - Your charitable work reminds me I need to do more with my community. Your scripture reminds me to read my bible. Your adoption reminds me how strong you must be. Your crafty projects remind me how much I love to make random stuff. Your kids…well they just make me want kids in little cateye onesies and holding a light saber. Keep being you. You are one of very few that talks about your faith and shows how important it is to do things for your community and others.

    It helps us remember!

  • Rachael W. - Comments like those are really not all the surprising. Whether they are thrown at un in the blogoshpere, at work, at the grocery store, by friends, family, or people we meet on the street. Jesus made it very clear to us, WHY these comments are made. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[b] have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
    “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. AND THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION, THAT THE LIGHT HAS COME INTO THE WORLD, AND MEN LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT, BECAUSE THEIR DEEDS WERE EVIL. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” <—John 3:14-21

    Hebrews 4:1-3 "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

    And our calling as Christian women, wives and helpmeets to our husbands FIRST and FOREMOST, and Godly Mothers to our children second IS, and MUST be Titus 2:3-5!! "the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."

    I pray this does not steal your joy, that you are encouraged in the Word of God (which 1 peter tells us holds "ALL things for life and godliness…" and that you DON'T stop blogging! As a newly transplanted Tulsan, I for one LOVE your blog!! I have very few connections still, and enjoy your posts thoroughly! I do have ONE question though: would you be so kind as to do a blog post about the great thrift stores in and around the area? (or flea markets… anything?) =)

  • Amber - To my favorite blogger: please keep sharing your heart! I came to your blog first because of a cute craft idea. Then I learned we shared a love for photography. I am a sister in Christ to you. Now, God willing, I too am a future adoptive parent. Your blog touches my heart. It is perfect for me. You have inspired me to rip up carpet and paint subfloor, which I would have never done! You have reminded me to take photos when we get a Christmas tree, a memory that our kids will surely cherish. Your empathy for others is a blessing and reveals what many try to ignore. I have been blessed by the sharing of your heart, and I can see so many others have too! I pray that today you will continue to feel encouraged by your readers.

  • Holly - Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I did not read your blog before, but I am definitely adding you to my reading list. I have a lot of fear in my life and your statement has really given me courage to *start* posting what makes me, me. Thank you.

  • Sandra Cabaço - Hey Ashley, you are fantastic, your Kids are fantastic, your Family are incredible. God did not please everyone, we are simply mortal´s. I like A LOT come here every day.
    Have you all a Merry Christmas.
    Kisses form Portugal
    Sandra Cabaço

  • Lydia - You keep going! You will never know how many people you may have inspired to adopt or help out in some way.

  • Camille - I read over and over that the best way to blog is to just be YOU because each of us is unique and we will resonate with readers that we should resonate with! Not everyone will stick around and that’s OK — as long as you be you. And that’s exactly what you’re doing!

  • Cindy - I absolutely love your blog – and ALL topics covered! I only have time in the morning for 2 blogs and you are my TOPS! you speak from the heart and I love that. Keep up the great work! you start my mornings off with a smile!

  • Windy - I first found your blog because of a diy you posted. I became hooked on your blog because of your randomness. I look forward to your posts everyday!

  • Nori R - I read your blog because I enjoy your voice. The snippets of life in your family make me laugh and sometimes cry. I love the positive energy you radiate most days. Part of what’s wrong in this world is how very critical everyone is of everybody else… and in part, that’s such a CHOICE. You can choose to go through life being offended by all you see that’s different than what you know, or you can realize you don’t know everything and want to learn and enjoy others’ viewpoints. Remember that it’s not those short-sighted few that you’re writing for. You’re writing for YOU and a great number of us happen to enjoy your voice, too, or we wouldn’t be here. Reading is not mandatory, and unfortunately, neither is thinking or broadening one’s mind. Hugs to you and Merry Christmas to your lovely brood!!

  • Robyn B - I don’t normally comment on blogs, but felt compelled to this time. I don’t remember how I first ran across your blog, I enjoy crafting, so it was probably a craft that was posted or something like that. I enjoy your blog…I especially like hearing the random/silly/crazy kid stories. I have kids myself, and it’s nice to hear that mine aren’t the only crazy kids around, hee-hee. I don’t own a camera, just the one on my phone, but I love looking at your photographs….I like the way you capture the everyday moments with your family. I kinda dream of owning and knowing how to use a camera like you :)
    I’m not adopting, but it’s interesting hearing all you and your family has to go thru.
    You seem like a normal, everyday person, and that’s how your blog comes across to me…not fancy or anything. I like that, kinda like if we knew each other, we might be friends :)
    Last but not least, I don’t understand – if someone doesn’t like what you have to say on YOUR blog, why don’t they just move on, and find another one they like?
    I like this one, so I’m not moving on.
    Have a great day.

  • Jennifer - I don’t comment often, but I want you to know that I adore your blog just the way it is. Don’t change a thing! I think one of the things I like most is that your heart comes through in everything you do–whether it is a simple craft or a plea for water for the thirsty. Thank you, sweet Ashley, for being a blessing to so many!

  • Emily - I feel so lucky that I found your blog, I LOVE reading about your life and what you’re passionate about. So many of us can relate to you in several different ways, and it would be a shame if you quit blogging about one thing or another. Don’t change a thing! I started reading when my daughter was born (she’s the same age as your daughter), my son is getting into legos and star wars, I like to be crafty but am not a pro, and I’m getting my new camera in 3 days (it’s been sitting in my closet for a month but my husband refuses to let me open it until Christmas), and I have several friends who have been blessed through adoption…oh, and I’m also a Christian. See how many different reasons I have to read your blog! Love it, and love the good that you do, you’re an inspiration. Have a very Merry Christmas! Wow that was long, sorry.

  • Emily B - I agree with the others—for every mean comment, there are probably 20 people who have been really impacted by what you wrote. I have forwarded your entries to others countless times! Please keep doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING!!! :)

  • Martha - Oh my Gosh, I just started following your blog and I Love Your blog!!! You have amazing talents and express yourself beautifully:) I know I am thankful for finding your blog! Merry Christmas:)

  • melyssa - I found your blog for inspiration of the crafty/photography kind. I keep reading your blog for the inspiration you give me of the spirit kind:) i may not share your religious background but I appreciate your kindness, compassion and values. thank you for using your voice!!

  • Becky B. - This is YOUR blog and you do with it as you want! People like that make me very angry…I love your blog and if I don’t want to read a particular topic…I just don’t. That’s my decision. Keep on keepin’ on Ashley!

  • Evie Houston - Thank you for this- I can’t believe someone leaving a rude comment on your blog- your blog is inspiring and your projects are inspiring not because of their own merit but because of you are a whole, multi-faceted person of many interests (that you are willing to share). How can someone expect to come to your site to seek creative ideas from someone who is single-focused? Keep on keeping on, girl! True creativity comes from the heart- and the heart is multi-dimensional, full of passions on many things- that is what makes your blog so great. It’s not just about 20 different ways to decorate something- it has heart and a voice.

    God Bless! Merry Christmas!

  • Stacy Littlejohn - Your non-niche blog is one the reasons I am here so regularly, I never know what to expect and relate and connect to so many compartments of your shared-life. I understand that people are used to category style blogs but I can see that your mission is bigger than just “one” of those things and there is fruit-productivity-effectiveness that comes from sharing it all! By the way, I love that this site is a place that feels real and encouraging and positive – because of what I do for a living and the sphere of blogs I currently traffic that’s not as common, yours is refreshing!

  • Bri Schaaf - I Love Love love you blog…please dont change a thing! You ROCK sweet woman!!! Keep on with your bad self!! :)

  • Rhonda - This is your blog, for your voice and the things that are important to you. And you bring your unique personality and experiences into the lives of others. You challenge and inspire me and others. If someone is offended they can stop reading. Just remember mean comments are just a small taste of the persecution that some others face for voicing their beliefs. Its amazing to me that anything you have ever posted could be offensive to anyone. You are the epitome of tenderheartedness.
    Keep up the great work of being real. Love your blog!

  • Analia - I think that you are an inspiration. Don’t let people who are so mean hurt you. I love your blog! And if they don’t like your blog…then why are they reading it?

  • Carrie Holt - sweet Ashley, I so wish I could hug your neck right now. Thank you for staying true to yourself and for using your blog to change people’s perspective on many important topics, along with giving us great decorating, photography, and parenting tips. You are truly an inspiration to so many!!!

  • Melissa - I just wanted to say I LOVE reading your blog – every part of it! There have been so many lessons I’ve needed to hear through a random post of yours. Thank you for writing… just wanted to send you some love (amongst all the others!) You are SUCH an inspiration, truly!

  • jennifer - Ashley,
    You are doing exactly what you should be! Your blog reaches many people and is amazing! Following Christ means you will often be scorned by those who are lost. It’s never easy, but I will never give up! Don’t you dare stop writing! Love your soul!

  • Dux - You have an amazing blog filled with love and spirit. I read it every morning while having my first cup of coffee and think it’s a great way to start my day!

    It amazes me that this person believes you should create a blog tailored to what she wants to read about. If you don’t like a blog just move on and find another one to read. To her I would say “get over yourself”

  • Caroline - please remember, that for every one person that doesn’t like your blog and is vocal about it, that there are probably 50 people that LOVE your blog! i feel like I know your family just by reading about yall. I am 22, and still in college, but my hope is that I will have a family one day that is as joyous and random (all the star wars references come to mind) as yours! you are a role model, not only for being an amazing mother, but for being a Christian woman who is trying to do right in the world, and in her own little corner of it too!

  • Nicole - “I kind of think if you don’t like a blog, just don’t read it.” Yep – that pretty much sums it up. Some people feel compelled to spread their negative thoughts instead of just walking away. There is nothing saying people need to agree with the decisions you make in your life or what you choose to share. There is also nothing requiring these folks to read your blog. Keep on keepin’ on, Ashley. Best to you and your family this Christmas!

  • CSL - Your blog is lovely, and I truly enjoy the variety of topics. It’s unfortunate that people feel the need to spread negativity. Unfortunately, the anonymity of the internet inspires lots of meanies to act out and critics to voice their noisy, unproductive and unnecessary opinions! But, the internet also gives us wonderful posts like yours, so please do not let the critics get to you!

  • Heather - Another fan and supporter here! Keep hitting the delete button on the negative emails.

  • Amber Machado - Thank you fir sharing your voice, and talking about things that make people uncomfortable. That is one of the reasons I love your blog so much. Your heart shines through, and even more the heart of God for the lost and hurting of this world!

  • Ruth - As Christians, we are called to serve, serve the poor, the fatherless, the widows, and to love others. We are NOT called to speak ill over someone, to do things halfway just to be politically correct, to ignore the truth. Thank you Ashley for being a light in this world through your blog….God will reward you for your faithfulness!

  • Krista Lund - keep on, keepin’ on, ashley! i love your blog!

  • Aneta - Thank you for sharing that ‘not so nice comment’ because we all, at some point in our lives, get attacked by people for no real reason at all. That was simply attack on you and you handled it with grace and boldness. Keep on keeping on!

  • Ruth@GraceLaced - It’s the difference between giving and getting. You can either visit a blog simply to GET GET GET…or you can be a part of a blog community to GIVE and BLESS. You know I love your heart of blessing…

  • Mandy - I have to say- I love your voice. I never comment but should. One of the things that brings me to your blog every day is the variety and the “realness” I find. I always feel uplifted after reading your words, and no matter the subject often find myself reflecting on them later. I love the committment you have to your faith and appreciate your willingness to share your feelings. We don’t belong to the same religion, but are both Christian. I’ve found my own faith strengthened repeatedly by your words, thoughts, and deeds. Thank you thank you.

  • Amanda - love love LOVE your blog! I am uplifted and encouraged every time I read it!

  • Bree - Agreed. Everyone has opinions, but when they are hurtful and for no reason i think they should be left unsaid. They too have a voice, but you use yours for good. I started reading your blog, bc i too am from Oklahoma. I love that it is a mod-podge of randomness. I love that i can come here and look at amazing photos of your children, or the crafts you do to give me the “umph” i need to get crafting myself. I dont know much about adoption, but i love reading about your adventures/step your going through to do so. So many deserving children out there. I think you are a wonderful person. If people dont like your blog, they dont have to read it. Its your blog, its your life.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  • Abby - Ashley,

    Your blog is who you are and more importantly who God has made you. It is wonderfully diverse, and that is why I come back to read every post. I assumed your blog was all about crafting, I have continue to read it because it is not. I love all of the apsects that make up your voice. You are a wife, mother, Christian and crafter. You hapen to all those wonderful things on top of adopting and your servants heart. Thank you for taking a stand with your voice.
    Luke 21:17 …”and you will be hated by all because of My name. 18“Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 19“By your endurance you will gain your lives.”

    Cyber Hugs to you Ashley,

  • heatherp - Ashley, I don’t post often but felt compelled to today. I love that your blog is about everything in your life. As a full time working mom of two, I feel that I have lost ME somewhere in the last 5 years. I read your blog to see that as a mom of four, you are still SO connected to who YOU are as a person. While you are a wonderful mom, you are so much more and you find ways to express that and explore that daily. You inspire me to find ME again, to stay connected to those things that I love and incorporate them into my daily life. It’s a work in progress, but I come here for inspiration. Please don’t change what you share, it shows me how to be a better mom and inspires me to connect with who I am again. I think you are a wonderful and incredible person and you inspire me to be better too. Thank you for using your voice!!

  • Ruth Abel - Your blog falls into the “everything interesting and awesome” category. You honor God with your creativity, passion and enthusiasm for what is right. I come to your blog to read exactly the kinds of things you post, and I am glad every time that I did! Thank you for sharing pieces of who you are with us. I appreciate you and your voice and you are making your Father proud. That is the most important thing!

  • Pam - Well said Ashley! That is exactly what a blog is…..an virtual outlet where you can voice your opinions and write about what is important to you….if it is important to others, they will visit and read! If not, they can go visit another blog. They are not compensating you so really they have no say so in what you write. I cannot for the life of me understand those people who think the world revolves around them and think it is their right to dictate everyone else’s life! For those who only want to read tips on say….photography – buy a book on photography! You do what you feel God is leading you to do and please Him! That is all you have to worry about and He will take care of the rest! Personally I love your blog! Keep up the good work and remain faithful to what you believe in!

  • Anna Joy - Why people would write those types of emails to you, I will never understand. It’s not like they pay you or have invested something in you. If they don’t like it, then stop and why go the length of writing a nasty email? You can’t help but feel sorry for them that reading about your heart would make them that uncomfortable. Keep doing what you are doing. I love sponsoring you and will continue to do so as long as I can. You are #1 on my blog list and I read yours first every morning.

    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners,
    and recovery of the sight for the blind,
    to set the oppressed free,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
    Luke 4:17-19

  • Ruth - As Christians we are called to serve, serve the poor, the fatherless, the widows…and to love others. We are NOT called to speak ill over others, to do things halfway to be politically correct, or to ignore the truth. God will reward you for your faithfulness Ashley!

  • Steph - Absolutely. Unequivocally. Yes. You have an ethereal supporter in me. Shout it from the mountaintops! Share. Love. Give! And let no one stop you.

    Amen, sister.

  • Ruth - As%20Christians%20we%20are%20called%20to%20serve%2C%20serve%20the%20poor%2C%20the%20fatherless%2C%20the%20widows…and%20to%20love%20others.%20%20We%20are%20NOT%20called%20to%20speak%20ill%20over%20others%2C%20to%20do%20things%20halfway%20to%20be%20politically%20correct%2C%20or%20to%20ignore%20the%20truth.%20%20God%20will%20reward%20you%20for%20your%20faithfulness%20Ashley!

  • Amy - I can’t imagine leaving any of those comments on anyone’s blog. The beauty of visiting a blog is that you make a personal choice to click on the link, to poke around and read what the blogger is writing about; you can click out at anytime and never return. You and your blog amaze and inspire hundreds of people everyday, don’t ever compromise yourself for the satisfaction from others. “If people are trying to bring you down, it is only because you are above them.”

  • Jill - I. Love. Your. Blog. Period.

    Thank you for writing it.

  • Kristina Carter - why can’t people just browse over posts that don’t interest them and keep coming back for all of your amazing posts! your blog is amazing and i aspire to have my blog as visited as yours someday! great job ashley! Merry Christmas!

  • Lisa - I’m thinned skinned too – and reading those words heart my heart for you. I just wanted to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing….being you and shining for Jesus. Whatever you do for the least of these… raise your voice – deep down, you know, we all truly have an audience of One… He’s opinion counts most.
    Much love to you and yours… And to the person who commented meanly, may you be richly blessed in your journey as well. It’s okay that you don’t share the same likes and dislikes – God made us all uniquely us. I’m praying you didn’t mean to be hurtful and that you were simply having a difficult day.

  • Minon - So So So needed to read this! Love you and so proud of you for sticking with this. It is amazing to see the journey you have been on the last 6 years! I had just stopped blogging because it was offensive to people-some friends and family. It made them too uncomfortable and they did not want us.You have inspired me to start again. To record our journey and my heart for all to see. To not be ashamed of the things God has put in my heart and called our family to do.

  • Pamelotta - I didn’t read through the comments because I didn’t want anything to muddy what I wanted to say from the minute I started to read this post. I guess I don’t understand the mentality that blogs are solely for their readers and need to cater to them. Bloggers aren’t celebrities that have an obligation to their fans, but if the blog is popular enough, they do have a platform that can be used for important things or trivial things. You’ve decided to include a little of both because your life contains both. You are a well-rounded person. You understand balance. You have to because you aren’t living this life of yours for yourself. You’ve learned to put others ahead of yourself and it’s influenced everything you do-from crafts to charity work to parenting.
    I, for one, am not offended by the fact that you choose to write what you want on your blog. I get that. And I approach blog posts that don’t interest me like I do everything else in my life…if I’m not interested in something I simply don’t read it. It’s pretty simple.
    Thanks for being the only way you know to be…you.

  • Devon Carpenter - It is YOUR blog and I love it just the way it is. I am sorry that people are so mean. No one is making them read your blog. If they don’t like a post or your blog at all, I’m sure there are others blog out there…I think. :) I think you are a super special lady for sharing your stories, your crafts, ideas, etc. Thank you for this lovely place, keep on keeping on and, again, I am sorry for you that people are mean spirited.

  • Kaley - Your blog brightens up my mornings…keep doing exactly what you are doing! If people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  • Alison - Oh my gosh, the inernet never ceases to amaze me. Ashley, your blog ROCKS. A day without it is like a day without coffee! Or socks! Something just doesn’t feel right if I miss a daily fill. (I’ll even admit to checking it some weekends just in the hope you’ll surprise me). And ARE YOU KIDDING ME – when I found out you were adopting, FROM CHINA – ! I thought this blog was already my favorite thing on Earth and then you do…ahh, THAT!! I still can’t express my feelings about it, but it’s just perfect and this is a perfect blog for me ;) It’s like you’re writing it…just for me! Lol. But honestly, DO NOT CHANGE. The internet never will and you just have to ignore the crud just like we’ve all learned that reading reviews to videos on Youtube is a complete and incomprehensible waste of time. The internet makes people think they can behave like jerks. They obviously aren’t worth bothering over. And you wouldn’t have the readership, the sponsors, or the ACCOLADES if you weren’t doing this blog right. So quit being a goof and have a happy Christmas :P

  • Crystal - You rock! and I’m glad you have a voice! You are truly an inspiration to so many!

  • Berna - Please keep writing! I not only check your blog for new ideas also send posts to my friends. To quote “Dr.Seuss” “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Theodor Seuss Geisel. I wrote a post inspired by this because I have a “stalker” who constantly despises and defames me yet keeps visiting the blog 5 times a day!!! I wish I had that much time in my hands to post 5 times a day!! Keep doing what you are doing! Good luck!

  • Ericka Gair - You captured my attention with your crafts.
    You thought me about photography.
    But I feel you have changed how I raise my entire family & think about the world and giving with your eloquent words.
    As a physician you think I would already know these things, but it is a young mom in Oklahoma who gives me so much guidance.
    So, thank you.

  • Mindee - Do not be deterred, Ashley. Too many people, including me, love reading your blog. All of us moms have scattered thoughts, what drives us, etc. Love reading, just as is, please don’t change because of some negative Nancies. That is really pathetic someone even took time to write comments like that. Enjoy your holiday season and Merry CHRISTmas!

  • Amy L - I LOVE, LOVE your blog. Can’t wait each morning to read it.

  • Amanda - I read your blog every day and I love it exactly the way it is. I don’t believe I’ve ever commented before but I have read your words for over a year now and you are a bright spot in my day. Thank you so much for all you do and for sharing your life with me!

  • Rebecca - I love your blog just the way it is, and your posts frequently touch my heart. There is no part of it that I don’t enjoy, and the posts your write about parenting, adopting, your faith, and the charities your care about are what keep me coming back. They are what set you apart. :) I often tell other people that reading your blog is one of the bright spots in my day. I truly mean that. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Melanee - Simply put, I do not want you to change one thing!! I look so forward to my early mornings before anyone else gets up in my house, coffee in hand, and your blog post on my computer.

  • Melissa D. - Good for you, for saying something and using that voice than letting those negative words fester inside you. I think your blog is lovely, each and every part of it! Keep up the beautiful work, Ashley! Happy Holidays!

  • Angela - I love your blog and think you do a great job! To be honest if there is something I’m not interested in reading about…. I don’t! Keep your chin up and keep on keeping on!

  • Juice - Amen and amen. Just delurking to say stick to your guns. Your blog is one of my very favorite reads on the internet, and I think the variety of your posts just adds to my enjoyment!

  • Sarah - You are by far my favorite blogger. You are so inspirational and a true witness for Christ. If you did not let “YOU” seep through on your blog by sharing about your faith, your life, your kids….than it would be hard to tell that you are a Christian. And I believe that is more important than anything. Don’t stop. Don’t create a separate blog. Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  • Beatrice Killam - I don’t understand why people do this! This is YOUR blog, about YOUR life, and you can write about whatever you want, not about what others like. They can feel free not to read it if they don’t like it. People are so rude and they should just keep it to themselves. Ever heard of ‘If you don’t have anything nice to day, don’t say anything at all’?
    ROCK ON, ASHLEY, you’re great! Don’t let the turkeys get you down.

  • Lauren - Don’t stop blogging. Don’t stop having a voice. I have had a hard time regarding what do I write on my blog. I am passionate about several issues (vaccination awareness, food freedom, etc.), I love to cook, craft, and we “homestead”. A blog is a personal expression for most people. Please let those comments roll off your shoulders. I know that they are hard to take. I would be upset for days over harsh comments but they aren’t the majority. I love your blog and your voice.

    Frankly, being a Christian alone is enough to offend the world. Jesus Christ didn’t stop having a voice. Hugs!

  • tara - i love love love love your blog! it’s one my favorites! i leave here feeling encouraged to be a better mom. to be more intentional with my children. to see the injustice in the world. to try to do something about it. and if i get a few crafty ideas or photography tips along the way then that’s great!

    and i know that God is glad that you are using your voice the way that you are … and isn’t He the only one that really matters.

  • Heather - I am impressed by your honesty and I thoroughly enjoy stopping by everyday to see what you’ve written today. It’s fun to see all of the things that are important to you, and I think you do a great job balancing those things. Being you is the most important thing you can do.

  • Devon - It is YOUR blog and I love it just the way it is. I am sorry that people are so mean.
    No one is making them read your blog. If they don’t like a post or your blog at all,
    I’m sure there are other blogs out ther…I think. ? I think you are a super special
    Lady for sharing your stories, your crafts, ideas, etc. Thank you for this lovely place,
    Keep on keeping on! Again, I am so sorry that people are so mean spirited!

  • Stephanie - Ashley: It’s your blog. Keep doing what YOU want with it. Because the rest of us love it.

  • Stephanie B. - Ashley, You are an amazing mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend! I dont know you personally, but down here in southeast oklahoma, I’m sure a fan! I’m sorry people are so unhappy in their own lives that they can find time to rant and rave to you about your own personal blog. A blog is a blog. No one forces anyone to read it, but I find enjoyment everday to see if you have updated your blog. I find that your heart is so big that spreding your love is one great aspect of this blog. it helps others to open their eyes and realize there are bigger issues in the world than offending someone. Your kids as well as your little China baby are very lucky to have such wonderful parents and family. I’m glad you have shared this with us. I bet it is discouraging, but it is admirable that you are not backing down. It is a persons decision to read this blog, and if they dont like it, or dont like certian things, they can choose not to look at it. But this gal down here, respects you for taking time out of your day to blog. Therapy for you, its encouraging for me to read. SO, thank you!

  • Candace - Amen. LOVE this post.

  • Adrienne - I love your blog Ashley! I am not a parent, nor a photographer, nor a Christian, but I look forward to reading your blog every day. I love hearing about your children and all of your endeavors. Thank you for sharing all that you do.

  • Lauren - Wow… what ever happened to if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all? Well, unfortunately, the internet did. People have the guts to say that kind of stuff because they think they’re hiding behind a computer screen. They’d never actually say it to your face.

    The point of anyone’s blog is not just to repeat themselves, what they do for a living, or to provide information for others. Blogging is as much for you as it is for your readers. It’s an extension of what you do for a living to share more about yourself and to start a dialogue with your readers so they can do the same. It’s your blog, and you should do whatever the heck you want to with it! If I don’t think the topic of a post is interesting to me, I simply skip to the next one. Easy!

    Personally I’m getting so tired of living in a world where all everyone is trying to do is point out all the things we’re doing wrong. Nothing is good enough. Politics. At least someone is taking some action instead of just complaining about it all- and for that Ashley, I have the utmost respect. I love that you share who you are on this blog and what you stand for, and even though I don’t actually know you, I love knowing that you’re a real person with interests, thoughts, and feelings.

  • Kim - I never comment unless it is for a prize but I had to today. I will never understand why people have to be so mean on purpose. Honest, I can understand but I feel like blogs are the authors own and should have their thoughts respected. Being a mom is hard enough and we should really just rally together and support each other.

    On a side not:Because of you I have this strong urge to learn photography and have been practicing. I have a lot of great shots of my baby boy because of you :) You also help me what to be crafty and learn more into adoption. I have always wanted to adopt after I have all my babies but this helps me understand the process better. Thanks

  • Amy Sargeant - Good job Ashley! Merry Christmas.

  • Janet W. - Your words are refreshing, renewing and a reminder to us on many days of what is really most important in life. Photography, crafing, life lessons . . . well those are perks within your blog!!!! Happiness is a choice, joy is a choice, reading a blog is also a choice. I am choosing to read your blog because it blesses my life. Merry Christmas!

  • Amy R - Ashley, this blog is your home and you open the door and allow us all to visit. As it would be rude of us to walk in your home and start redecorating, it is also true about how you express yourself here. I love your insights, and your thoughts. While I may not always agree, it is good for all of us to listen and think. Your family brightens my day – You brighten my day. Thanks for allowing us all into your home.

  • Lisa A. A. - Ashley, I love your blog, All of it. It makes me sad that people can be so mean. I just don’t understand why people need to leave those sort of comments; no one is forcing them to read any one blog! Please know that so many of us enjoy your blog and are inspired by every post, no matter what the topic is. Lots of positive thoughts and prayers for you!

  • Lissa - I am a blog-addict and yours is one of my favorites. I always look forward to reading your latest post! Like you said, this is Your blog. If a person doesn’t like the content of a particular post, they *don’t have to read it.* This is the beauty of blogs :)

  • Janna - I love your blog and read it everyday, it is the first one I check every morning, I can’t wait to see a new project or your cute kiddos, or whatever the post is for the day. You are so inspiring, thank you so much for sharing your life with us!

  • Amy - Count me among those who LOVE to hear your voice (or read it). As one who also has rather “thin skin”, I applaud your courage and persistence. And I admire your compassion. Merry Christmas!

  • Janine - Duuude. What is wrong with some people? You write about whatever you want to write about and if they don’t like it they don’t have to read it or go to your website. And it’s not like you are writing terrible things. Keep on keeping on and toughen that skin up a bit. You can’t please everyone, and there are plenty of jerks out there. Hang in there and I know I will continue to enjoy the pictures of your adorable kids, the crafts, thinking about charitable issues, and whatever else you throw our way. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with the world and I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • kelly - I love that you have a voice, and you are not afraid to use it. You are an inspiration, and the world is a far better place because of it. You go girl!

  • Jordan - Ashley, I love reading your blog. I love being inspired by how you are raising your kids and your heart for social injustice. I love your pics, although I will probably never be photographer of any sort! I saw that you pinned that poster yesterday, and was so thankful to finally find the perfect gift for my sister. Her son was born with a cleft lip, and it was thrilling to be able to get her something she will love, that donates to a cause she emphatically supports. You made that possible. Thank you.

  • Jenny - I have always really enjoyed your blog Ashley. I don’t share your faith or all your views, but it’s YOUR blog and you should express exactly what you what on it -nothing more, nothing less. Why anyone would take 2 seconds of time to tell you what you should or should not write on YOUR blog about YOUR life, frankly flabbergasts me. I’m glad you shared this post and hope all the positive comments you’ll get make up for those few negative ones that come your way.

  • tammy werthem - Keep on keeping on and keeping it real. Let the scoffers scoff, they are missing out on your heart. Keep sharing your passions and all the joys of serving HIM and you will continue to be blessed!

  • Amber - I freaking love your blog and everything about it. Maybe that’s because I feel the same way so often. You are amazing and crafty and a great mom and your kids are too adorable not to share with the world in photos. I’m having my first and I hope I can capture half the cuteness you do. I also really like that you care about things. I could just get ideas from some mindless crafter, but I would get bored with that. They can write their blogs however they want, but I probably won’t read them obsessively.

    I hope you have a super Merry Christmmas. I’ll be making snow globes you inspired. :)

  • Stephanie Gragg - I have never posted on your blog before, and never really intended too. I am more of a silent majority viewer. lol. But after reading that all I can say is there are lots of angry, sad, miserable people out there. They enjoy the misery of others. I think your blog is wonderful and I hope you don’t change the way it’s put together just because one sad person said something negative about it.

    I hope you have an awesome Christmas and enjoy life no matter who tries to stand in your way.

    Cheers Stephanie

  • Tracy - Ashley…I LOVE your blog..it is YOUR blog and you can write whatever! I Love reading about everything..i feel like i get a glimpse of who you are! You seem super cool and i love your heart! Ephesians 6:14-17. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

  • amanda torres - Thanks for sharing it all! I never get bored because there are a wide variety of topics. I’m totally surprised to see the comments you have received. I guess I view blogs as the author’s and not the readers. If you want to read, stop by. If not, there are millions of other choices. I just happen to stop by yours everyday.

  • Kathy - You are a Proverbs 31 woman and that’s why I love your blog. You give me glimpses into your marriage, your parenting, your joy, your work, your play, your faith, your heart and how you balance it all. You inspire me. :)

  • Erin - Ashley,
    Your’s is the only blog I read daily. I read it for all the reasons you list above. You motivate me to be a better Mom, a better Christian, and a little bit crafty :) May God bless you and your efforts. I have not doubt your reward will be great! Merry Christmas and keep on keepin’ on!!

  • Melissa - Like you said, you can’t be all things to all people. But you and your blog fit into my life perfectly, and I’m so happy that I found you. Merry Christmas!

  • abigail - Please dont change a thing. Ive become a better mother because of your writing. I’ve been reminded to slow down and enjoy my boys and this stage of life because of a post that day. I have two boys and a girl on the way and your kids remind me of my boys. I think they would be great friends if we lived close to you – i live in virginia – not sure where you live – i think somewhere in the midwest… but your blog is great. if anyone doesnt like it they can just stop reading it.

  • Katherine - Love this. Love your blog. People crack me up… they don’t have to read it if they don’t want to! You are doing an amazing thing sharing all your gifts and heart with the world… keep it up! And, btw, thank you for buying my little girl her candy necklace the other day at Michaels. :) You made my day!

  • Trish Cremeens - What an awesome and brave post. This is my first time leaving a comment here, but I just had to say that your is one of my favorite blogs to follow. You put it out there in a way that is totally authentic and wholehearted and YOU. That’s what keeps me looking forward to each post. Glad to hear that will never change.

  • Charlotte - I love that your blog is filled with so many different aspects of yourself. I love the poignant stories, the photography, and the crafts. I’m not a mom yet, but I love hearing your stories about being a mom. Thank you for your great stories. Keep on writing, and I’ll keep on reading.

  • Dorma Phillips - Someone didn’t learn one of life most important lessons in life, if you can’t say something nice then keep your big mouth shut! I ran into your mom the other day at Target & told her how much I enjoyed reading your blog & seeing those precious pic’s of her grandkids~they are all ADORABLE! There are people that are just never happy & have to try to upset everyone, don’t let it get to you.

  • Jenny - I have always really enjoyed your blog Ashley. I don’t share your faith or all of your views, but it’s YOUR blog and you should write about whatever you want -nothing more, nothing less. Why anyone would take 2 seconds of time to tell you what you should or should not write about on YOUR blog about YOUR life, frankly flabbergasts me. I’m glad you shared this post and hope that all of the positive comments you’ll receive will make up for those few negative ones that come your way.

  • Laura {The Embellished Nest} - Thank you for blogging what you do! It comes from your heart, it is genuine and inspiring, and that is why I read your blog daily.

  • Lisa~ - This is my first visit to your blog. I found an older post on Pinterest then linked over to the main page because I liked your style.

    And here I am leaving a comment even though I am not a long time reader….I hope you don’t mind my interjecting myself into this kind of personal discussion. I just want to encourage you to keep writing about whatever God puts on your heart and sharing your story. I get a LOT of hate-ish types of comments on my blog (although my readers wouldn’t generally know it because I always delete them). Like you, they get to me a little and I call a friend to remind me that I am not the monster these haters claim. Then I click “delete” and let it go….into the wind, so to speak.

    It’s OK to want to crawl in a hole sometimes, I know I do! Then peep out and see that the sun is still shining and those babies of yours don’t know anything but the joy you bring to their lives.

    Good post. You be who God made you to be and let it shine through your blog and don’t worry about what anyone else says about it. (talking to myself here too!) Love, Lisa~

  • Sarah B - Ashley,
    I work in a profession where daily I am reminded of the families and children on the streets and in the shelters who have nothing and sometimes not even eachother. I love reading your blog and seeing the good that you do in the world, and the fact that you are teaching your children that others are important, no matter how insignificant. I have spent many days crying while reading your blog, whether it be about firecracker’s hospital stay, or your children choosing to buy a cow for another family instead of a gift for themselves. I’ll admit I came for the crafts, but I keep coming back because every day you remind me of good people that are out there caring and helping to do what it is right! I think everyone could use a little more Ashley in their lives.
    Thank you for providing me daily respite from the storm.
    Sarah

  • Brandy - Ashley, this is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read! Well done and thank you! You are an inspiration to not only me but the world!

  • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis - The bigger difference you are making – the more attacks you will receive! You can use this as a sign that you are doing what God is calling you to do and Satan is trying to stop you by using others to discourage you. You don’t have to have thick skin… just keep arming yourself with the Word, Sister!!!! You ROCK!

  • Maria - I love that you share your life with me…thanks for adding a little joy to my day!

  • Alyssa Ann - Amen. You do have a voice and this your space to share what you choose, anyone who can’t handle it can go elsewhere. I love your blog, your faith radiates through your posts and your photography is beautiful!

    Merry Christmas :)

  • Caitlin - Your blog is one of my absolute favorites! I love your heart and everything you post about. I have gotten so much inspiration from you in multiple categories and am so glad you are keeping it all on one blog. I like that you are a real person, not just a one-topic canned blog. Thanks for not being afraid to proclaim the name of Christ! Hope you all have a fabulous Christmas celebrating Christ’ birth!

  • Kristin - You’re an amazing person. Love your blog, and all the bits and pieces you share. Your service to others is inspiring. I’m glad you share what you love.

  • Amanda D - Your blog makes my day, everyday! I enjoy the “real life” that you share among the crafty projects, awesome photography and cute kiddos, house decor, adoption. I love it all. I might not relate to every single post but I am always able to learn from the post otherwise. Thank you for this post, and every other post. You are inspiring and if someone doesn’t see that, well, it is their loss.

  • Amy - Umm, I am new here and love all the stuff about you. When you go to someones blog it isn’t to win prizes. It is to peek into another person’s life and learn from them, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You aren’t here to please other people, be who you are! Be real, be raw, be honest! I love your blog, keep it up!

  • Tracy - Ashley…I LOVE your blog..it is YOUR blog and you can write whatever! I Love reading about everything..i feel like i get a glimpse of who you are! You seem super cool and i love your heart! Ephesians 6 14-17. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

  • Kenna - Keep writing YOUR blog the way YOU want. I love all your journaling and will keep following. You have made me start to think more about what we have and what we (my family) has to offer others with less. Know that you are making a difference in a positive way in most people’s lives. The mean commentors obviously never learned the lesson “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Have a wonderful Christmas!!!

  • Dawn - I love your blog the way it is! I like reading something that’s more like everyday life and not over produced and fake like some of the blogs out there. And as a mother of a beautiful little girl with Down Syndrome I really appreciated and enjoyed some of the links you shared. Thank you so much for your blog and please keep posting!

  • Trista - Just wanted to send a little love. Not sure why people don’t just skip over the posts that offend them. That’s what I do every time Apartment Therapy or Ohdeedoh try to tell my I’m a bad person for for using Clorox or bug spray.

    I think you are fabulous. Don’t change a thing. Don’t create a second blog. I came to your blog for your crafts and stayed because you are a Christian woman who’s not afraid to love her family or others.

  • Krista - I can’t believe anyone would write these things Ashley! First of all, as you said it is YOUR blog, where YOU get to write whatever you please! You have no obligation to any of your readers to write about or focus on anything in particular, or to hide your beliefs in any way. If a reader doesn’t want to read what you have to say, then they need to stop reading the blog!
    I thoroughly enjoy reading about all aspects of your life Ashley. You are a beautiful person, with a lot of great things to share.
    I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and all the best for 2012. Hopefully there will be a new little baby in your arms very soon!

  • Melissa - I have always loved your blog and found it by means of the “pallet bed” a while back. Now I also love your heart. You indeed have a voice. Your readers are listening, more importantly, your children are listening. It is never ok to sacrifice a piece of yourself at the alter of your critics. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for your courage to be authentic. You are a great inspiration for all of the creatives who have found their way to this space and love it for what it is.

  • Jenna - Ha, it never occurred to me that people might not like your mentions of charity/social justice. That’s the whole reason I read your blog, lol.

    There are TONS of design/photography blogs out there, and many of them update more frequently and are entirely devoted to those subjects. If that’s what a reader wants, there’s no dearth of options out there.

    But none of them have a social justice bent, which makes your blog different and much more interesting. The design blogosphere is SO full of solipsistic and materialistic blogs these days – I love that your blog isn’t like that! And if you were to change, you’d be just like every other blog out there, and that’d make me stop reading! :P If that’s what I wanted, I could get it a million places. So please, keep doing what you do!

  • Candice Forte - How funny is it that 1/1000 people who are dissatisfied with us really get to us? I had a photography client who was unhappy with gorgeous pictures of her gorgeous child this fall and I can tell you I almost quit because of it. Then there are the 20 or so sessions I had where people were asking for 10 business cards, etc, to pass out to friends. But I still remember the negative one. Look at all of these positive posts. Ashley, I wish you the best this year. I feel like I could totally be friends with you. We have the same passions. I read an article about a boy who is desperately wanting a family and he is HIV positive and likely will never get one and grow up in an orphanage. So ridiculously sad. I cried. I love the crafting, the antics, the photography, the child advocacy, the Christianity, the everything about your blog.

  • Jenni - It is SO kind of you to even respond to such a hateful email. Your blog is wonderful and like a free speech zone. I think you are opening the eyes of so many people to needs around the world and in a fun, tangible way. Keep doing what you are doing. As a fellow believer I know that the enemy wants to stop your blog, but the light of Christ will prevail. Try and remember TRUTH.

  • Dawn - Some people have no common sense! Please don’t change a thing! You are who you are and we (your readers) love you for it. Ignore it and carry on. If you write something I’m not particularly interested in, I just scan it and move on. I hope that commenter can find it in HER heart to move on. Hopefully she can find a way to fulfill her own life without trying to find fulfillment on a blog!

  • Vicki - Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I started following your blog because you are so honest and open about your experiences and your faith. You are right, you cant make everyone happy, but that isnt the purpose of the blog, so keep on sharing yourself with us. Merry Christmas.

  • Hollie - Amen to you :)

  • Jamie - LOVE your blog!!! I never understand why people are so cruel.

  • Jaime scott - You dont know me. I dont usually comment on your blog, but I read your blog daily and I love it. I feel like I know you and I would have a hard time not running up to you if I bumped into you in public, because you feel a little bit like a friend. I’m glad youre not changing your blog. God has given you a platform and He’s using you in it. Your blog is a bright spot, a light in this world. Keep doing what youre doing!

  • Jess - I rarely comment, but I love EVERYTHING about your blog. Keep up the good work!

  • Alison - Ashley keep doing you. I happen to love your voice! I look forward to reading your posts and feel like I know you and your family through your blog. I happen to love the fact that you don’t make it just about you, but instead show such compassion for others! Keep on posting what comes from your heart, which in my opinion is more real then most of the other blogs out there.

  • Ivana - Ashley, I am so grateful that you share all of your views here. Because of that, your blog is one of the most honest and fulfilling blogs to read. I could not agree more with you that we have only one voice given to us and we need to decide how we are going to use it. And it takes courage to speak and do as your heart tells you and resist the bullies of this world. I have learn a lot from you and hope that you will continue on this journey for many years to come. The world is better with you in it. – Ivana

  • erica - your voice and talents are beautiful!!

  • Kimberly - WOW! I’m so sorry some people don’t have better things to do with their time. I personaly LOVE your blog and look forward to it everyday (miss you on the weekends)! I don’t feel like a crafty person most of the time but you make me feel like I could be.

    Even tho I’ve never meet you (but would LOVE to one day), I feel like I know you. See some of the things you do makes me want to be a better person and find more ways to help.

    THANK YOU for not letting other make you stop blogging. I know there are MANY people who would miss it greatly. THANK YOU for letting us in and sharing your life with us. Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

  • Sarah B - Ashley,
    I work in a profession where daily I am reminded of the families and children on the streets and in the shelters who have nothing and sometimes not even each other. I love reading your blog and seeing the good that you do in the world and the fact that you are teaching children that others are important, no matter how insignificant. I have spent many days crying while reading your blog whether it be about firecracker’s hospital stay, or your children choosing to buy a cow for another family instead of a gift for themselves. I’ll admit I came for the crafts, but I keep coming back because every day you remind me of good people that are out there caring and helping to do what is right! I think everyone could use a little more Ashley in their lives. Thank you for providing me daily respite from the storm.
    Sarah

  • kristin - So there’s this great thing called “free will” that if we don’t like/agree with something, we can move on!!! Your blog is you, and it is great. Last time I checked, we weren’t paying you to write for us?!?! ;)
    In the spirit of Chrismtas, here’s what I say to those not so nice people: don’t be the bulb that takes out the whole strand of lights.
    xoxoxo

  • Sally - Ashley,
    I have never been to your blog, but somehow today, came to it via a prompt on twitter.

    I’m sorry that you have received the kind of comments that would prompt you to write such a post, but I am SO PROUD of you for sticking to your convictions, and writing about the things that are on your heart at any given time — no matter what they may be, and no matter if people think they “go with” some unwritten “theme” of your blog.

    My blog is sort of the same thing. Crafty, but not really. Lots of faith, but certainly not perfect. Decorating, but not so much. Home and family – just trying to keep it real. But, most importantly for me, a creative journey.

    Keep on keeping it real, Ashley! Write from your heart. Anyone who truly cares about you would not want you to do any different.

    Merry, merry Christmas my new friend! ~Sally

  • Meadowlark - I know this is a love-fest, and I also love your photography work and kid pictures, but I just wanted to offer up a voice in the dark for a different perspective: Maybe because your blog is so attractive and professional looking, people (in their ignorance) just get confused and think you’re like a, um… magazine… and that you are just there to provide content in the area they are looking for??? As blogs have become ubiquitous for many, the line between “personal place to speak my heart” and “online directory of {fill in blank} has blurred. Just a thought.

    Or they could just be mean and sad people who are lashing out at their perception of your “charmed life”… you know, taking you down a notch? Whatever the reason, listen to His voice, I’m sure our Father has the overall picture and will move you where you need to be moved. :)

    Wishing you peace…

  • Natalie @ TheShadyAcre - Ashley, this is YOUR blog, and it should have your voice. Some people have nothing better to do than be negative, which is sad. No one is making them read your words! I know my blog is shared with the world, but ultimately, I write it for me and my family. It’s my scrapbook–not there to please others. Anyway, just wanted to leave a positive note. :) Don’t let the few naysayers steal your joy or zeal.

  • April - Like so many others, I’ve rarely made comments on your blog, even though I read it almost daily, but I had to get my two cents in…Just know that you MUST be doing something right for the Lord if you are getting opposition from others! May you be blessed for sticking to what He has called you to do, and that is encouraging & sharing with all of us, thank you Ashley!

  • jessie - Your heart is good Ashley. Your heart is full of love, love for your children, love for the hurting, love for beauty. It’s what makes you beautiful and your blog fun to read. I’ve never commented before, but I read your blog every day and it makes me smile, every day. Your heart is also brave for addressing a comment that is hurtful. Very brave. Be blessed.

  • Corinne - What this blog is…is YOUR blog. This is a place where you can share YOU to others that enjoy YOU even if we have never met…we still enjoy your stories, your crafts, your ideas, your photography, your inspiration…we enjoy YOU that’s why we check in every day!! Keep doing and being you!!!! Thank you for your blog!

  • Lindsey - Ha! It takes some gonads to tell someone how they should write their blog. ;) Good thing there’s a ka-gillion other blogs to read. Yours is the first one I look up every day. It’s the sort of inspiration I’ve grown quite fond of first thing in the morning. It’s where I turn to slow down after opening my crazy inox and appreciate the simple, beautiful things in life. When I need it, it reminds that most things I’m worried about don’t really matter much. The photos, the crafts, the adoption–the caring and thougthfulness of a little person you don’t even know–the faith, the love: it’s everything we need more of. So, I’ll never stop reading your blog and looking forward to your every next post.

  • Clayre - Ashley, I love this blog and I love your willingness to continue blogging what you want to blog, even though people can be hurtful at times. Your blog is exactly what it is and if someone doesn’t like it she doesn’t have to read it. I am so glad you care about issues of social justice and are also crafting and raising kids and on and on. For those reasons, you seem more real to me than someone who just blogs about all of her perfect crafts. Thank you for that realness and for including us in the journey of you life.

  • Melissa - I LOVE your blog and I LOVE your heart! Please don’t ever stop doing what you love.

  • Elise - Wow…I cannot believe someone would say something ugly to you. I am totally of the opinion that if you don’t like something, move on along, go to the next blog that does suit you. I’ve recently had an “interesting” comment and you often wonder how to reply, especially wanting to sound sincere.
    I LOVE your blog and wouldn’t want you to change a thing!! I’ve gotten to see how to better serve others’ thru your blog, things I never would have even thought of or knew you could do.
    Elise

  • Stacia - Sweet Ashley- Keep using that voice of yours. It’s a beautiful one. People are hearing it and change will happen. All the best to you this holiday season. xoxo.

  • Melissa - Thank you Ashley for your blog and your decision to continue in sharing what I believe makes this blog of yours special. I am continually impressed with your posts. I find myself thinking about what you’ve written later in the day and sometimes days and weeks later. I’m sorry that a few seem to think that they are entitled to only hear about what pertains to them. I haven’t commented lately to tell you how much I enjoy your blog and I’m sorry. I was deeply touched when I read your post about shopping for donations with your family at Walmart. I have 4 children and I find myself thinking the very same thoughts when out with my children. I even took my kids out to a holiday crazed party with 50 other children in attendance by myself because I was inspired by your post to let my children enjoy and not worry about how other people were judging my parenting abilities. Continue to be you! Thank you!

  • Carolyn - Don’t change a thing. Variety is the spice of life!

  • Sandra - Keep your voice going. Why should you stop doing something you love just because someone doesn’t like it. They are perfectly free to not read it, just as you are free to write it. Its your life and your blog. Some people just are not happy unless they are complaining or trying to bring others down. Pray for them. Don’t stress over the petty people out there. Keep on doing what you enjoy. Merry Christmas and happy blogging.

  • laurelbud - Dear Ashley

    I can’t actually grasp why someone who doesn’t want to hear about parenting/charity/faith/home decor would read your blog and then complain?? I’m sorry, am I missing something here?? Surely if you aren’t into that (why I don’t know but that’s another matter) then don’t read it, simple! Even if you did read it and it wasn’t really ‘you’, how could you find anything offensive or worthy of a complaint? How could anyone feel offended about someone else choosing to adopt??? How could anyone feel annoyed at someone sharing tips on home decor??? How could anyone feel disgusted at someone leading a good life and nurturing their beautiful children?? Like I say, I just don’t get it!

    Everything on your blog is positive, happy, inspirational and completely un-political.

    When I read this post I sat shaking my head in utter disbelief that anyone could draw anything negative from your wonderful blog and actually felt upset and even angered by it. It’s crazy I know but by reading your posts you tend to not only feel like you ‘get’ that person but really grow to like them like a friend, yes I know it’s crazy, how can you feel like you are friends with someone when you don’t actually know them???

    I am not particularly religious, I am not thinking about adoption or fostering and I don’t get into home decor as much as you BUT I still love to read all your posts about these things.

    Your blog is uplifting and even though I personally am not looking for information about adoption (for example) I like to read your posts about this because they are interesting and opens my eyes to something I didn’t really know much about before.

    Please, please, please do not let these horrid people upset of affect you.

    Your blog is perfect.

    Wishing you a very happy Christmas and a joyous New Year to you and your beautiful family.

    LB

  • Becky M - Jealousy can be a nasty thing. I love your blog, and honestly it’s the only blog I’ve ever read. I love that you’re a proud Christian, that you’re adopting, that you have great crafting ideas and photography skills, and your kids are adorable.

  • Lindsay Soetaert - I love reading your blog for the very reason that it has soo many aspects to it. Not only that, but you seem so real to me, not like some blogs where there life seems impossibly perfect. I pray that you are encouraged more by the positive comments and that those who love your blog will encourage you more with positive comments too! Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family that you share with us all!

  • Ashley C - Thanks for sharing your heart and love of all things important to you. Yes we all have freedom–freedom to read what we want to and not read it if we don’t want to. You are also free to share what you want to.

  • ASH - I love your blog. I go to work before your post comes up for the day, but I wait for it. It is because you are voicing everything that is in my heart. And God willing, I will one day be brave enough to take a stance and give a voice to those who are unfortunate. When I was little, my parents used to tell me to finish everything on my plate because there are kids in Africa that are starving. To this day, it pains me when I see good food thrown out. I wish to give those starving children food and a voice like you have. And your blog is showing me it is easier than I imagined. So no, you shouldn’t have to change your blog because a few people don’t like what you are saying. I bet those people are afraid of what their conscience will say when they read about your efforts to provide for more people than necessary. It is YOUR blog and you should stay true to yourself!

  • melissa - I,too, often wonder why people read blogs that they really don’t enjoy and then how they somehow feel the need to share their opinions with said bloggers. I feel that if they so desire to share their opinions, then they should start their own blogs! Bah humbug to them!!!
    Thank you for not allowing them to silence your voice and your joy. For the few miserable readers out there, you have hundreds more that DO come to your blog for your crafting, views on parenting, who find inspiration in your Christianity and who also share a passion for social justice.
    Thank you for sharing your part of the world. Whether you know it or not, this little corner of your world is making my little corner a better place and I’m sure others would say the same. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better person, mother and Christian.
    Keep it up!! Merry Christmas!

  • Natalie - I never read blogs daily, until I started reading YOUR blog. Now, I can have the craziest morning, but I always take 5 minutes to get my daily dose of Under the Sycamore. Look at all your sponsors! People certainly believe in what you’re doing here…in ALL that you do.

    Incidently, I also felt at one point that I was completely incapable of taking good photos of my children, you’ve empowered me to do my best and not miss documenting these early years. One day, I will get a DSLR and take a snap shop course.

    Every time you give your kids a bath and see a rubber duck, just remember those negative comments need to roll right off your back. Like water.

  • Jackie Walker - You rock and your blog rock!!!

  • Leah - Praising God for your honest and sincere heart – and your willingness to be molded by His hands. Merry Christmas!

  • Meredith N. - Ashley, I love your blog. People can be such a-holes. Honestly I don’t care about everything you post about, but if I don’t care so much about it one day, I just don’t read it that day, not get pissed and tell you about it…it’s YOUR blog and people can go elsewhere and read one of the other one million blogs out there. Seriously people just need something to complain about.

  • Wendy - Ashley, I love everything about your blog – don’t change a thing!

  • Jennifer - I came to your blog because I am in love with photography. I keep reading because you have let us in on your journey through motherhood. God has used your blog countless times to push me to do more, to help me to realize that there are other out there who’s heart breaks for those without a voice, and to not feel so alone as an adoptive mother. Thank you for your words, pictures and the window into your heart!

  • Brook S. - I have to say that your blog is the ONLY blog I read daily…because it IS so random…I never know what’s going to be on here from day to day and I think it’s wonderful that you can share so many details of your world with your blog readers…wether it’s crafting, photograpy, random life happeneings, your passion for helping others…it’s such a great mix! If I only wanted crafting inspiration, well, there are other blogs and sites dedicated to that and various other things. Keep your voice! It’s what your dedicated blog readers love about you! And like you said, if someone doesn’t like it, they can simply click the red X at the top of the page. It takes far less time than writing some hateful email.

  • Haley - Good for you for standing up for yourself and doing it so gracefully as well! I read your blog because I find it entertaining, inspiring, bright, cheery and positive, sometimes I may enjoy one post more than the other but that does not mean I love the blog any less! I have never understood the concept of someone writing a mean comment instead of no longer reading a blog they don’t enjoy anymore, keep doing what you do, keep doing you!! :) Merry Christmas!

  • Sara O - I love reading your blog! Thank you for having the gift of putting your voice into words and sharing it with us.

  • shelley - I personally love the “life compilation” on your blog! your stories are moving and your passion for family, Jesus, crafting, photography, social justice, etc., shines and I love that!

    this post is especially inspiring- we all have “meanies” in our lives and we cannot shut down because of them. good for you for standing your ground! you are setting a wonderful example for your children, especially sweet little “firecracker” 8-) thanks for the many great posts, fun ideas, and inspiring challenges.

  • Christina - Praise God that he gave you the voice and hear for other you have, and that you have wisdom to see how important it is to use that for good instead of letting the words of others influence you to stop.

    For the record, I love your blog, and everything you blog about. Many a times I find your words convict me… which is uncomfortable, but completely what God intended. Keep on keeping on!!!

  • Ashley - Hi Ashley,
    I never comment, but LOVE reading your blog. I was saddened to read what some people write. I think you are a wonderful person and I’m so glad you write what you do. I’m also very glad you have the courage to stand up for yourself and others.

  • mindy t - I so dont understand people. Its not like you are making us read your blog. I say if you dont like it stop reading. You should never find the need to write such mean things. I think you are fantastic and shouldnt change a thing.

  • lindsey - wow you already have 350 comments, and I’m sure they are saying exactly what i’m going to say. I love your blog and all it’s content. and those other people can just scroll past and ignore the rest, it’s OPTIONAL to read anyone’s blog. I mean really, i don’t understand the ‘right to complain’ that negative people seem to have.

    merry christmas and keep being yourself, that’s what makes you (and your awesome blog) unique

    also i LOVE the new graphics/design

  • Maia Andréasson - Thanks for being and remaining you. Merry Christmas from Sweden.
    /Maia

  • Sara W - I love your blog. Your crafts, decorting, kids, adoption, convictions; all of it! You have given me countless ideas in all of these areas. Keep on!

  • Jody - I think that if someone doesn’t like someones blog, then don’t read it. Simple as that! You are not forcing anyone to read about you and your life. I think it is very sad when someone has such negative opinions on such a positive thing. Maybe that person should start a blog and write on what she/he thinks it should only be like. They need to remember we live in America and it is called freedom of speech.
    I love your blog, I love your randomness, I love that your are normal family and that you opened your home to all of us! Happy Holidays!

  • Aja - I LOVE your blog. And I love that you share what’s on your heart, that you genuinely care for others and make that known and encourage us to think outside of ourselves with your words. I think it’s very easy to read blogs for our own enjoyment and escape, and that’s fine, but life isn’t just about us! I personally am thankful that you make me think about more than taking good pictures or what craft I want to do next. I love love your ‘slice of life’ and hope you’ll continue to share it as you have been. Being a Christian and caring for others shouldn’t be compartmentalized- it’s supposed to shine through and I really think it does here on your blog. Well done.

  • Marci - Ashley,
    You should know that I never have commented on anyone’s blog. But you are my absolute favorite blogger. I love every single facet of your blog- your crafts, your pictures, your trials and triumphs, your kids. But most importantly I love that I always gain some inspiration from what I read every day, whether in my spiritual life or my creative life or my charitable life. Each of us has a story and I LOVE your story:). I have been inspired to photograph better from you, to keep a journal, to order the Samaritans purse catalog and actually gift something, to make pizza balls, to do numerous crafts. I could go on and on. I can’t tell you how many times I have copy and pasted a link to your blog and set it to my husband and said WE should do that!
    I am so glad that you won’t change anything about why you write about because I would miss it…but I will always read because I think you are awesome:)

  • Caroline - I love your blog! It is a bright spot in my day….so cheerful and fun! I don’t understand people complaining about a blog…they don’t have to read it if they don’t like it.

  • Jessica - People just like to get offended. If you only did crafts, people would complain they don’t know anything about you. If you only post pics of your family, people would say that you think your life is perfect. Some people just like to tear others down or don’t understand the kind way to say things. Thanks for your blog Ashley… it is my favorite to read each day, just the way it is.

  • ellen patton - Your blog is one of my favorites. I hope you don’t change anything. Some people are knuckleheads.

  • Kim - Ashley, my family and I have a hard time being seen in our swimsuits in a pool…recently we chose the attitude that if someone doesnt like what they see, they can look the other way. Same for your blog dear..if they dont like what they read, they can close the page and go read something else. Do not change or apologize for who you are and what you share on your blog. You have inspired me in so many ways and have made me rethink certain aspects of parenting, and I thank you for it. Dont change anything!

  • Robin N - It is YOUR blog. Do what YOU want.

  • Sherry - I love your blog just the way it is! I come here daily because I enjoy every single post. I love your talent in photography and the inspiration overload that you provide. I think a blog is best when it’s true. Why not blog about your life and what you love? I think everyone gets caught up in the whole blog “categories” thing. I don’t really understand why some people have to be so rude, they don’t have to read your blog :)

  • Sami - Like so many others have said, it made me mad that someone would say such unkind and undeserved things to you. The cool thing is that as a result of someone else’s negativity you are receiving an outpouring of love and kindness. God is using the bad to work for your good…imagine that :) Ashley, never ever doubt who you are and what God has called you to do and write here. God has given you such a merciful, gentle and humble heart. If anyone questions you, they need to talk to those of us who have actually served and worked alongside you! Or made one of your super cool crafts :)

  • Lori - Love your blog! May your voice through this blog continue on and on. Merry Christmas!

  • rychelle - thanks for being you, and staying true. merry christmas.

  • Sandy W - I am so glad you aren’t starting a new blog for charity. I love your blog just the way it is. You are being authentic to yourself and that is the most important thing. Keep doing what you do, you are wonderful!

  • Sara Torbett - I love your blog, passion, and transparency! I tell my husband about your posts so often it’s as if we are referring to a friend. Thank-you for bravely using your voice!! :)

  • keri - forever folding laundry - Ashley – you are a lovely person inside and out, and God has given you this space, and your voice, for a reason. And you’re using it the way He wants you to. Don’t ever stop, and don’t give the negativity a second thought! Merry Christmas, friend! xo.

  • Lemonade Makin Mama - I’m still very new to your blog… like a week new… but I have some of the same pulls of the heart for my blog that you have for yours. It’s our platform, and if we aren’t willing to speak up and say what makes us who we are, then we are just a blog full of fluff. (there are lots of those, all of them lovely and have their place.) Those of us who love Jesus know that we always have purpose- bringing HIM glory. You do a great job of that from what I’ve read so far. I’m sorry you got a mean spirited comment- especially this time of year. My bloggy girlfriends and I don’t understand why people take the time to write that sort of thing, and we all get it from time to time… it DOES hurt, but you know where it comes from. The enemy doesn’t want you promoting anything that brings glory to GOD. I’d say that’s just fuel to say more and say it louder cause you’re obviously on the right track or you wouldn’t be taking flack for it. I’m glad I found your blog and YOU. You’re a sweet heart. Merry Christmas!
    Blessings,
    Sasha

  • Jeni Y - Thank you for being you! Your blog is the perfect blend to start my day. Please don’t let the naysayers words dwell in your heart or mind, rather be inspired by the long list of comments voicing support for your efforts. I look forward to watching brothers and sister (and new one) grow up!

  • Janelle - Love, love, love your blog, Ashley! It is you. And you are awesome and inspiring!! I also agree with you..if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. Seriously, a person would have to be a true narcissist to expect someone else to change a very popular and personal blog to fit what they are looking for….so strange. Merry Christmas to you and your family….and a special blessing to your little one overseas :)

  • Gina f. - I like your blog just the way it is and will always read it!!

  • Sophie - I love your blog in so many ways!! I love all aspects you present, and here in rainy old England it is brightening up my maternity leave!! Ive just had my second baby and clinging on to faith to get by! You inspire me so much, and alot of your parenting has influenced mine esp. this Christmas! x

  • Melissa U - I LOVE your little random blog. I read every word no matter the subject. I’m always excited to see what you have written about. Keep your VOICE and keep using it for what makes you happy. Forget those mean people…they can read another blog!

  • Louise Ferguson - I’ve never commented on anyones blog before Ashley – I’m a bit of an online stalker I suppose – read lots of them and stay hidden. However I really wanted to tell you how much I have loved reading your blog and the randomness of your subjects – you bring encouragement, joy and a smile to my face most days and it makes me sad to think that people can be so unnecessarily negative (as in the comments you mentioned) when you and so many other bloggers are brave enough to put themselves out there and be vulnerable – unlike me! I hope you continue to blog for many years to come and remain true to the amazing woman that God has created you to be. Happy Christmas to you and your lovely family. xx

  • Brandi - Preach it, sister! I hope they realize that God is speaking to them and stirring their heart. Keep on keepin’ on! I love it here.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • the inadvertent farmer - As a Christian it is your (and all Christians) obligation to speak out for those that cannot…it is our great imperative, to show the love of Christ to all man.

    So keep on using your voice my sweet sister, you brighten, encourage and challenge all those that visit you here. Love ya, Kim

  • Jess Slingerland - Just wanted to let you know that your blog is my first stop every morning and I absolutely love reading what you have to say!! Don’t stop being you for those people out there that aren’t okay with aspects of you..!! You are an inspiration to many, especially me! :)

  • Maureen - Ashley, thanks for sharing your voice, period. Let the negative folks find another blog to criticize.

  • Amy K. - I would never dream of commenting negatively on anyone’s blog (although I do exercise my choice to not read things that don’t interest me – pretty simple!), but I also do not take the time to make my *positive* comments, especially on super popular blogs like yours! I will remember that the positive comments are needed to overwhelm the negative ones & post them more often. It is hard for me to remember that reading your blog is not the same as actually knowing you, and I would miss knowing what is on your mind terribly if you stopped writing about it.

  • Emily - Hi Ashley,
    I’ve been reading your blog since sometime this summer – and it has become my favorite! You have inspired me to be a better mom, and a better citizen of this small world we share together. There needs to be more people like you who share inspiration rather than just more “stuff” we need therefore creating greed, coveting, and a competition to “out do” eachother.
    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE looking at what you create and am so addicted to Pinterest – but one stop on your blog makes me realize that I don’t have to go online to see cute things. I can just look at the sweet faces of my children.
    Those people are just cotton-headed-ninny-muggins. :)
    P.S. I know you didn’t write this post in order to get compliments but I’ve been wanting to write you this comment for a while and today’s post reminded me to do so!

  • Kelsey - Thank you so much for being true to yourself. I love reading your blog everyday. I love that it is so different and covers so many things. Blog on! :D

  • Janelle - Love, love, love your blog, Ashley! It’s 100% you. And you’re awesome and inspiring!! I also agree with you…if someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to read it. You have to be a true narcissist to think someone else should change a very popular and personal blog to fit what they want…so strange. Merry Christmas to you and your family…and a very special blessing to your little one overseas!

  • Allyssa - I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I had to this time. I absolutely adore your blog! I don’t see it as a craft blog, a photography blog, or any other type of blog. I see it as a blog about your life and interests. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re obviously doing something right :)

  • Jess - Let your light shine, sister! I am filing this post away to read on the days when I need a pep talk:) Keep up the fantastic work!
    p.s. Thumbs way up on the new design, beautiful.

  • Melonie Grover - You are who you are. A well-integrated crafty photographing mother of 5 who has a heart for injustice and a desire to make the world a better place. And I’m certain that the Lord is smiling down upon your influence Ashley. Bless you internet voice. :)

  • Kate - I check your blog just about everyday (though I never comment) and I love it. All of those things that you care enough about to post on make this blog something that I enjoy reading. And, I think that if any of them were to go away it would leave this little space lacking. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you’re doing an awesome job :D

  • Aubrey - Oh Ashley, I’m so sorry for the yucky comments that come your way. I hope that with each encouraging word left you are strengthened and inspired to be YOU! I read your blog daily because you are genuine and that shines. It would be terribly unfortunate if you altered your blog in any way other than what speaks to you. The good that you have given to so many of us “readers” that you don’t even know are treasures stored up where moth and rust do not destroy. So thank you from a wife, a mom of 4, a crafter that can kinda sew, and someone who is inspired to do something about social injustice and want to take better pictures because she reads a blog called Under the Sycamore.

  • Kayla - Ashley- I absolutely love your blog. I check it everyday, and I get inspired by your life. I love everything you put on this blog. I love reading about your kids, photography, design, crafts, and your adventures in adopting. I don’t understand why people would write such mean things. I hope you keep writing and keep inspiring others they way you inspire me everyday.

  • Aubrey - Oh%20Ashley%2C%20I’m%20so%20sorry%20for%20the%20yucky%20comments%20that%20come%20your%20way.%20I%20hope%20that%20with%20each%20encouraging%20word%20left%20you%20are%20strengthened%20and%20inspired%20to%20be%20YOU!%20I%20read%20your%20blog%20daily%20because%20you%20are%20genuine%20and%20that%20shines.%20It%20would%20be%20terribly%20unfortunate%20if%20you%20altered%20your%20blog%20in%20any%20way%20other%20than%20what%20speaks%20to%20you.%20The%20good%20that%20you%20have%20given%20to%20so%20many%20of%20us%20%22readers%22%20that%20you%20don’t%20even%20know%20are%20treasures%20stored%20up%20where%20moth%20and%20rust%20do%20not%20destroy.%20So%20thank%20you%20from%20a%20wife%2C%20a%20mom%20of%204%2C%20a%20crafter%20that%20can%20kinda%20sew%2C%20and%20someone%20who%20is%20inspired%20to%20do%20something%20about%20social%20injustice%20and%20want%20to%20take%20better%20pictures%20because%20she%20reads%20a%20blog%20called%20Under%20the%20Sycamore.%20

  • Alisha - I’m sorry that some people say mean things to you. Personally, I like when you post about helping others, your projects and your kids. I don’t ever comment, but I like your blog a lot. You have helped me step back from my photography for now and focus on my kids (and I can’t thank you enough for that!). You help me to remember to look beyond myself and see how blessed I am, and how I can help others. I’m glad you decided that this is your blog and you can write whatever you feel on it. Merry Christmas!!

  • Bella - I love reading your blog, keep doing what you are doing and speaking from the heart like you do. Have a happy holiday Ashley! :)

  • Wendy D - Oh my gosh! I love this blog. I love this post. Well said and bravo for being you. We could all take a page from your strong, kind, authentic stand you took for yourself. Well done.

  • Mary Lemon - Ashley,I’m so shocked people would actually write you nasty emails or comments complaining that they don’t like something you wrote about. As many here have told you, they should just not read it if they don’t like it. Your blog is my favorite blog out there. I love reading about your adorable kids, your faith, your projects, etc. Even tho’ my kids are 30 and 33 and I have a 14 mo. grandson, I’m a Christian and I love decorating projects and fun pictures of your family. Most of the blogs I follow are believers and I think it’s awesome that you and these other women are so open and share the good and tough times. I get inspired by so many blogs. Don’t change a thing. There are more good kind people out there than nasty ones. I hope you and your family have a wonderful blessed Christmas!

  • Taryn - Raise your voice! I LOVE your blog and check it every day!

  • Sarah-fortheloveofnaps - LOVE your blog. I am a new reader. I love the variety. It inspires in multiple ways. I like blogs that give a craft idea mixed with some parenting thoughts and other inspiring ideas. Blogs that just focus on one topic can get boring. Be strong and take those negative comments and let them go out in the trash with the rest of the holiday wrapping paper.

  • Jenn A. - Ashley – I’d love to add my little voice with all the other commenters to say Thank you for your blog. You’ve helped encourage my heart toward wanting to be a mother like you that uses my gifts and talents to challenge my future children to live and love God with their lives and creativity. I hope you feel the Lords pleasure in walking out Eph. 4:29 well. I’m inspired by your example. Thanks for being vulnerable and bold in sharing your life and thoughts.

  • carolina - Ashley, this is YOUr blog, and you post what you want. I understand that is a blog, like a Journal but to share. Don’t understand the comment from this person. Thanks for share with us what do you want to share, love see your family, you love for God, and how do you want to help others. Like the Argentinian says: AGUANTE ASHLEY!!!

  • Mary McDaniel - Ashley,
    I know that a lot of other people have said it today–but I really enjoy your blog! I am not yet a mom, and I appreciate your perspective and I am grateful for your parenting insight. It helps me look forward to kids someday, however God will provide them. I appreciate your photo tips and crafting creativity. But, I am especially grateful grateful for your unashamed honesty, your authentic faith, your zest for life. Thanks for writing about you. Your life. Your story.
    Merry Christmas!
    Peace,
    Mary

  • heather - you and your voice inspire me.
    always.
    with every single thing you share.
    xo

  • Kassi P - YOUR BLOG IS ALWAYS FIRST ON MY READING LIST and if i am short on time, the only one! I look forward to your posts so much, and i appreciate you highlighting reputable charitable organizations (it is sometimes hard to tell these days). Your kids make me laugh and pics of Firecracker always make me smile! I admire you for really being the kind of person you want to be! How you accomplish so many things with all those kids running around is amazing. DON’T LET ANYONE STEAL YOUR JOY!

  • Sam - I was brought to your blog a while ago when I saw Fire Crackers bed on Apartment Therapy. I have since loved reading your posts on all subjects, including your adoption process, the social causes you chose to share, even your kiddos. That what your blog is for, to share YOU! Hopefully the wealth of wonderful comments here will show you just how many happy readers you have! Have a very Merry Christmas.

  • Ashley Lahtam - This is YOUR blog! Let those party poopers find another one! I LOVE it, DO NOT change for anyone!

  • Jenna - I think I’m way naive, but I can hardly believe people would write that kind of thing. It’s your blog, for crying out loud!

    And, I for one, LOVE your blog. Everything about it. I love that it’s a mix of who you are and where you are and what you love. In fact, when I started blogging, yours was {and still is} one of the blogs that I “look up to.” Because I love your realness and your “this is where I am and what I’m doing” -ness. I leave inspired, encouraged, and {often} giggling over the antics of your kids. I love this spot on the web.

    Keep that voice strong! Because there are so many of us who love to hear it.

  • Kara M - Wow, on so many levels! The whole note is terrible, but how can anyone take a jab at orphans or people who advocate for them. That really brought tears to my eyes! It is amazing that folks in our city were able to bring kids into their homes for Thanksgiving. It is amazing that another sweet little princess will have a forever family in your home! Keep sharing.

    I’m listening!

  • laura - Ashley, i love your blog, never change no matter what silly people tells you!! Merry Christmas from Spain!

  • Alyse Petersen - Ashley, I absolutely love your blog. I love what you said about how this blog contains all the things that you enjoy and makes you who you are! I’ve loved reading blogs for a long time and yours is one of my absolute favorites.thankyou for all the inspiring ideas you give me!
    – Alyse

  • Hannah B - Oh my. I’m getting all feisty reading about the mean things people have written to you. How dare they?! You addressed it perfectly in this post though! It is YOUR blog and you can write about whatever the heck YOU want! If they don’t like it, keep it to themselves and…Don’t. Read. It. I think people like that, who just have to say something about their discontent when there is no need to, are just looking for attention and looking to bring someone else down to make themselves feel better. You’ve got the right attitude…don’t let anyone steal your joy!!

    You go girl! Tell ‘em!

  • Tammy N - YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!! DON’T CHANGE A THING!!!!! SORRY FOR YELLING!!!! :D

  • Sarah - WOW- have you EVER had so many comments? How awesome that so many people rally around you- we LOVE YOU!

    I’m glad you ignore the criticisms. Seriously, no one is making them read, if they don’t like it, move on. They don’t have to be nasty about it. People are idiots… but I want to be MORE LIKE YOU!!!

  • Brenda - My HodgePodgerie - Ashley, don’t change your blog. A blog is a personal, but online diary of your loves, experiences, beliefs and dreams. The people who read your blog become inspired by it, get ideas and share in personal family experiences that you’ve brought the reader into. If readers are offended by your personal family choices or religious beliefs, then they have the right to not read them and search for another blog. As christians, we have a drive to SHARE Christ with nonbelievers. And there will always be someone out there who doesn’t want to read about it. And there will always be someone else to cater to them. Don’t change YOURSELF to fit into a mold of what someone else wants you to be. Merry Christmas to you & yours… and blog on sister! Blog on!

  • rebekah - I don’t have children, I can’t sew, I don’t currently own a camera, and I claim to be agnostic, so it hardly seems like I’d be a faithful reader of your blog — but reading your latest post is a major highlight of my day. I’ve read it daily for over a year now. It has kept me sane through a lot of struggles, reminded me that there are good people in the world, taught me a lot about finding joy in the everyday, and in general brought me happiness. Thank you for what you do, what you write about, and for keeping this blog utterly and completely true to you. You shine through it, and that is what I love most of all. Thank you!

  • Michelle - Amen sister!

  • Tammy - I am just one insignificant voice in this bloggy world and I never leave comments – I just soak up and love and am inspired- but today I need to let you know that you are loved and appreciated. Thank you for simply being who God has made you to be. Thank you for the gift you give EACH day that I read (everyday, sometimes mulitple times) Praying that the encouragement you get from your followers outweighs the careless comments.

  • Jennie W - Really?? I am amazed that those comments would be left on your blog. I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now, I originally found it when looking for ideas on painting floors… I love the crafting ideas, but I especially appreciate the posts about your kids, and the inspiration to find joy in every day. I have two boys – 2yrs and 7weeks, so this speaks to me. And reaching out to others with the love of Jesus – I’m so glad to read your posts!

  • amy cornwell - God bless you, Merry Christmas, and I agree 100% with all that you said. My blog is the same…a mix of crafts, faith, family…whatever is on my heart/mind for that day. You have a powerful, loud (meaning you have a lot of readers), impactful voice that God has blessed you with. I’m glad that you’re listening to HIM and not snarky commenters. Everyone has an opinion. Just know that we love you for YOU and read your blog to get a glimpse in your life, whatever aspect of it you share that day. Keep on keeping on!

  • Vicki - I’ve never commented before, but felt the need to this time. I’m sorry others felt the need to post such comments. Please keep sharing your voice just as you have. If others don’t like it, they should be reminded they don’t have to read it and they aren’t even paying for free craft, photography, and family information. If they don’t like the content, they can start their own blog with the specific content they want and discover the effort and time it takes. Thanks for keeping your blog REAL so REAL people can relate. God Bless!

  • Shannon W. - I’ve silently read your blog for about 8 months now and I’ve never commented, until now, because I want to say…YOU GO GIRL!!!! Good for you! You are so brave to write this and you said, in such a warm and heartfelt way, what a lot of us think and feel inside but don’t have the bravery to say!! People in this world never cease to amaze me at what they will say and do. Thank you for standing up for you and for the rest of us who are sick of caring about the negative things that everyone else may think of us! New Years resolution for me in 2012…be true to myself and care less what someone may think!!!

  • Allison S - Ashley, out of the 50+ blogs on my reader, yours is my absolute favorite. Hands down. Every post is a little bit of sunshine and I love it. It’s obvious that you and your work have touched people and I think it’s a fantastic gift to be proud of! Wishing your family lots of happiness and love this Christmas,
    -Allison

  • Deidra - WOW. If someone chooses not read it then so be it. I don’t understand their NEED to tell you about it! Where is RESPECT these days? Sadly…it has gone to the wayside and people lack simple manners. I would say that those readers who choose not to follow you are people that you most likely wouldn’t want as a friend in “real-life” anyway. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Continue doing what you are doing. Your blog is YOUR blog – you own it and choose the content. Keep on keepin’ on. And those of us who follow truly care about what you are sharing!!

  • Melissa - i’m always reminded that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. however, he didn’t today! thank you for your honesty and your lovely spirit. don’t allow anyone to steal your joy! your blog is so encouraging and real. i love that you talk about what you want to talk about on your blog! i mean really, it’s your blog…you do whatever you want with it and we can be apart of your journey!

    thanks for being bold!

  • Abi - Your blog is beautiful. I am a 19 year old student living in the uk. To say our lives are different is an understatment. But, I am crafty, love photography and live for my God. Your blog brightens by day and makes me smile and I love reading your take on life. Thank you for all the inspiration. Please don’t change it! Merry Christmas

  • Cassandra - Well. I think everything that could be said has been said! But I’m going to throw in my 2-cents anyway. The way someone’s blog is their personality is my favorite part about blogging.

    And while I started following your blog because of your awesome craftiness, and I’m usually a total lurker, I’m also totally in love with your kiddos at this point (Firecracker and my toddler are the same age and appear to have the same attitude! Trouble.), and interestingly enough am often in awe of your ability to give.

    I’m an atheist, and I often find myself exhausted with religious messages, but I’m here to tell you – you’re ability to give, to teach your children to give, to care, to work for others is awe inspiring. If that comes from your faith so be it. I often read your blog and remind myself to work on my own tolerance, and to keep working to teach my own kiddos the value of thinking about someone besides ourselves. So thanks for that.

    Hopefully, this outpouring of support helps counter what can often seem like overwhelming negativity.

  • MG Atwood - A blog is for the blogger to blog about whatever is on their mind, or heart on that particular day. Let your voice roar! I feel so much pain inside of the harsh comments that writer wrote. This time of year is so difficult for so many. I will try to show the mean spirited grace, as long as I can hold it together. Please have a joyous holiday.

  • Katie H. - You inspire me all the time. I look at my role as a mother, a wife, my faith and just life in general differently b/c of the things I read on your blog. It’s made me a better person. Keep on Keepin on!!

  • angela - part of the reason I love your blog is because of the randomness… it’s nice to read the variety, and hear what you’re interested in and passionate about. Sometimes I skip if it’s not something I’m super interested in, but I usually read everything you write.

    keep doing what you’re doing – don’t let people bring you down :)

  • Shannon W. - I’ve silently read your blog for about 8 months now and I’ve never commented until now, because I want to say … YOU GO GIRL!!! Good for you!! You are so brave to write this, and you said, in such a warm and heartfelt way, what a lot of us think and feel inside but don’t have the bravery to say!! People in this world will never cease to amaze me with that they say and do. Thank you for standing up for you and for the rest of us who are sick of caring about the negative things that everyone else may think of us! New Years resolution for me in 2012…be ture to myself and care less what seomeone else may think!!

  • Lesley - You keep doing what you’re doing! I love reading it all!

  • Susanna - Please continue to blog about whatever your heart leads you to! I am not at all crafty or good with a camera, and my favorite are the stories of you with your children or your adoption or the charitable work that you do. But I also realize that this is YOUR blog and you should write about other aspects of your life. Your blog is one of my favorite to read each day and that is because it is REAL! You can tell the real blogs from the fake ones that have gotten so caught up in the rest of the blogging and internet world and only giving people what they think they want. I would always prefer someone that writes from their heart than a people pleaser. Love you and your beautiful family! Merry Christmas!!

  • Lynette - I LOVE your blog. I am typically a lurker and don’t comment much (if ever), but wanted you to know that your blog matters and you shouldn’t change a thing! We do still live in America and have the right to write what we wish! The fact that you change things up is what makes it so very interesting and entertaining! I just don’t get where people are coming from when they think they can negatively comment on what someone else is writing on their own blog…

    Merry Christmas to your beautiful family!

  • Pam Heggie - People blow my mind…I wish I understood the meanies out there. Don’t even give that comment two more seconds of your precious time and thoughts. If someone doesn’t want to read about that stuff (because they are meanies) then they can just skip over it. Problem solved. You are the best…an example to all. Merry Christmas!!!

  • Courtney Henson - Oh Ashley, I hate that you get any unkind comments! I come to your blog because I love the variety of what you offer. One day it might be an awesome craft idea and another an inspirational post on parenting or how we can help someone else. It is your blog and belongs only to you…as readers we are just privileged to get to know you from afar – a totally lovely and inspiring woman who lives out her faith and pursues her God given gifts. I actually find one note blogs a little boring and love knowing different sides of the blog author. Merry Christmas and know that you are encouraging and inspiring way more people than you are offending!

  • Allison - Long time reader, first time commentor. I totally hear you and support you! I love your blog and how sometimes it is this side of you and sometimes its another side. We are all people composed of many sides and to limit a side of yourself on YOUR blog, I just don’t understand that. I love that you wrote – “if you don’t like my blog, then don’t read it”! Keep doing what you are doing, you are great. Although, I understand when words do hurt sometimes. Take care!

  • Molly - I couldn’t even read your whole post…..I am so upset that you feel like that! I enjoy everything about your blog! Keep your chin up…lots of us are getting a lot out of your blog each and every day! Merry Christmas!

  • Jaime - 420 comments on how much your blog is loved, just the way it is! That is awesome! I love it just the way it is too, real, true, fun, crafty, giving, serious, and always wonderful. I am sure this post was hard to write, but you deserve a huge virtual pat on the back. I AM PROUD OF YOU!

  • Tasha - I rarely comment, but I felt I had to today. Please keep doing what you’re doing. This blog belongs to you. You choose what you wish to share with the world. No one else. Those people who left the mean comments can just go elsewhere.

  • Lena - I read many blogs and yours is my favorite. I love it. Every little thing you do on here represents you! Keep doing what you are doing! Merry Christmas to your blessed family. Love Lena

  • Alicia - I am a total lurker who never comments, but I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog. You are an inspiration to me. You inspire me to make my house prettier, to have more fun with my children, to capture more of life’s little moments, and to reach out to those around me. Our family is really struggling financially right now, and my four year old has medical problems that we are trying to diagnose. I appreciate the reminder I get from reading your blog to reach out to those around me, to be grateful for the blessings I have, and to do what I can every day to make the world around me better. It’s so refreshing to read a blog that is so positive and yet so real!

  • Carrie R - My jaw dropped when I read your blog today. I’m so sorry for your pain! I do love that I had to scroll so far down because of all the comments (which appear all positive, although I didn’t read them all). What I love about blogs is that, it’s whatever YOU want it to be because it’s YOUR blog! Don’t be discouraged!!! You’re doing great things in your life and people love reading about them on YOUR blog. God bless you and your sweet family!

  • Allison - I guess u can never escape mean people. they are everywhere. but i love that when I come here, i know that i am in the presence of a good and thoughtful person. just keep doing what you are doing. all great and wonderful people in this crazy world have had mean people around them too. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

  • rhonda steed - poo poo on those silly people! Your blog is YOU and all of you is GREAT! They can go somewhere else if they don’t like it!!!

  • Lizzie - You help a lot of people through this little blog of yours. Keep being you. :)

  • Christy - Don’t change a thing. Your adventures in motherhood and aspirations to help others and do good are uplifting and help me better strive to reach my potential. Please ignore the critics- the one deep inside us is enough to deal with.

  • Katie Bowman - I love that you share many aspects of your life. It creates a more complete picture. I am a Christian too and I loved when I found out you were too. God is a creative God and he made you unique and with a unique voice. Thank you for sharing it here, to His glory. I look forward to your posts and I’m here almost daily. Do not be discouraged!!

  • Jennifer Baker - Ashley, I am truly inspired by your blog. Not just the crafts but by all of it. I love how you share your day with the world. It reminds me to have joy in the small things. I have loved watching your family’s journey with adoption and I love all the pictures of your kids! Keep it up! I love that you share your faith on your blog too – what a great way to show the world His love.

    Thank you!
    Jennifer Baker

  • Ashley - Ashley–I adore your blog! I talk about you to my husband like you are my friend, sharing funny stories about your children (my favorite may be the naming of the elf) or some way you’ve encouraged me as a mother or a follower of God. Please keep using your gifts, talents, and spirit of thankfulness and compassion to impact the lives of those around you.
    Merry Christmas!

  • Laura - Your blog is as inspiring as your confidence. Thank you for all the posts, pictures thoughts. You are truly an amazing woman of God!

  • Molly - THANK YOU!!!! There are millions of orphans in the world and we can’t keep putting them off somewhere we don’t have to see them.

  • Kamin - Ashley, I truly can’t believe someone would write such horrible words.
    Your blog is inspiring and your testimony and faith are lovely! I hope you see by the response to this post by your readers that you and your blog are loved!

    And just because I’m so taken-a-back by this (horrible) reader and her email to you…for those of you who are reading…this is Ashley’s blog and she can write whatever she wants, about whatever she wants.

  • rachael brown - meh. don’t worry about them. but i know it hurts. beacause we are human. and we have an innate desire to need to feel loved and respected by our peers. its human nature. and that is ok. but no-one forces anyone to read your words. your blog is one of the first things i check in on each day on the net. its inspiring. humbling. loving. honest. please dont stop being exactly who you are. you have a voice. god has gifted you with a voice. and he has blessed you with an audience. he is also blessing you with wisdom. xoxo

  • Amanda - The very first time I stumbled across your blog I read it for hours and hours. My foremost thought was how I so wanted my future family to be awesome like yours. I love to read your blog everyday and I think it is so important that you continue to write about charity, and your children, and everything that you care about. That is why I read your blog. It is read and it heartfelt and it is so so so full of love, and love always amazes me.

    SO thank you, for writing this blog and staying true to yourself. It means you are extra awesome in this world.

  • Carrie - probably already been said…but
    1 Pet 2:20b “But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God”
    1 Pet 3:14 “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”
    1 Pet 3:17 “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
    Sister, you must be doing something right to be ‘suffering’ these words of wrath. This life will hold suffering, how are you going to respond? Let them read it, let them be stirred, let them go away bothered and hopefully changed. Keep up the good work!

  • Sheila - Some friends recently asked me what my favorite blog is. I said Under the Sycamore … HANDS.DOWN! It’s the very first place I visit every single morning after my kids are off to school and I have my coffee in hand. I learn something new every single day from you … maybe it’s a new craft, a photography tip (in fact, I’ve taken up photography because of you), … but I always learn something new about myself and this great big world God has created. Your blog is a gift, your voice is a gift, and YOU are a gift. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing that with all of us strangers. ;) Please don’t change a thing about your blog … because that would mean changing your heart. And God loves your heart just the way it is … and so do I!
    God bless you today and always. xo

  • Amanda K - It’s who you are that inspires me to be who I am.
    Thank you.
    :)

  • stephany - I LOVE your blog.
    I love your stories, your crafts, your photo and tips!
    It’s your real life!
    Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Melissa - I for one love your blog. It’s SO sad that someone had to waste their energy writing to you. Whoever you are that wrote that- just stop reading. Don’t change anything that you do. Seriously. Your blog is your blog. It’s one of my MOST favorite!! I’m sorry that someone had to write this to you….it’s just…I don’t even have the words to describe it.

    It’s just sad. :(

  • Conni Marleau - Obviously since there are so many positive reponses to your post you KNOW we all don’t feel like the few ‘nay-sayers’ that emailed you. Seriously I don’t read blogs I don’t want to …. So if someone doesn’t like your religious views, or your quest for righteousness, or your adoption journey, or your lens choice, and sewing mishps … DON’T READ THE BLOG {Dork}!! That kind of passive agressiveness really irks me … what did it prove to email such a diatribe?? What did they get from it? I have no clue … but don’t stop being who you are, “you are you, and there is no one else as you’er than you” … you ROCK Ashley son’t forget it!!

  • Amanda - I wouldn’t listen to that person one little bit. I think they might be a little jealous of your beautiful life/family/charity. I love reading about your family, I love seeing the crafts you make, I love reading your photo tips, hearing about your adoption progress. Don’t censor your blog to appease a very select few. Write what you want to write, just like she/he said, they have a choice to come here or not. To be honest, I’d bet they still come here even after writing that. Some people just live off of controversy and drama and try to bring others’ down with them, it’s so selfish and disgusting to me.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, you and your family are awesome and if I ever have a family, I’d love nothing more for it to be like yours!!

  • ang - I happen to love your blog and read it everyday! You ROCK!!!

  • Jill - “I kind of think if you don’t like a blog, just don’t read it.” AMEN, AMEN and AMEN! For every 1 negative comment you receive, please know that there are dozens who find inspiration and great joy in your blog. I know I do!! So keep it coming – just as is. I think you are great!!

    PS – May you and your family have a blessed Christmas!

  • Ashley S. - Kudos to you, Ashley. This is YOUR blog, and you’re allowed to post about anything you want. I feel sorry for people who would write those emails to you – why don’t they just stop reading your blog? It’s your voice, not theirs.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Lara - So, so glad that you are using your blog to speak God’s heart. I know 442 people have basically said the same thing, but keep on. :) As a follower of Christ, you answer to Him for the things that you write on here, not to anyone else. I think you are writing the things that please His heart. Blessings to you and to your family during Christmas!

  • Carrie - I’m a long time reader but don’t comment too often, but I feel I have to here! You are one of my favorite bloggers. I read lots of craft,photo, parenting blogs but the reason your blog is on my favorite list is yours is all that combined into one + HEART! I too am a wife, mom, crafter (who can’t sew at all but I try), I love my camera, am a Christian, have been very involved in the lives of kids in foster care, and my aunt just adopted from the Ukraine a few months ago! I LOVE everything you write about, it feels like we live very similar lives! Keep doing what you are doing and don’t change a thing!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  • Holly - I LOVE your blog. Just the way it is!

  • Jen - At the end of the day, it’s YOUR blog. Not OUR blog. You should be free to post whatever you like. I love that you share about wider issues – someone may learn of something they were unaware of and get involved in a solution. Your post may be the push someone needs to finally stop thinking about adoption and do it; the seed planted to a life-changing action. And one really ought to be asking, why are these charitable posts so offensive that you need to keep them off or separate? It indicates far more about the heart of that reader, that they try to avoid observing the needs of others. They’d be better off examining themselves than ranting to you. So, keep it up.

  • Crystal - I see you have a million comments already, and you may never read this one. But I’m writing anyway. I love your blog. I enjoy all the various topics you write about. Your writing will never align perfectly with everyone’s interests. That would be impossible. I personally think it’s rude for people to write to you and expect that. Keep doing exactly what you are doing – that is what makes you happy, and that is the point of it. Your kids are adorable, your photography is great, your crafts are so clever, and your heart is big enough to care about others. You are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Don’t let anyone else’s words make you doubt that.

  • Carol - Dear Ashley,
    I read your blog everyday because of everything it conveys. I enjoy it so much. This is your blog and you have the right to share whatever you want.

    Merry Christmas blessings to you and yours!

  • Petra in Sweden - I read your blog several times a week and enjoy it for the mix! I’m not Christian or a mother. I don’t own a big house to decorate or even a decent camera… but I thouroughly enjoy reading your writing and looking at all pretty pictures! Thank you for sharing pieces of your live with us!

  • Lisa J - Well said Ashley, for every negative comment, there are 100 positive ones! I love the mix of your blog – don’t change. x

  • Jenny - I don’t usually leave blog comments, but I just wanted you to know what I thought. I have only recently begun reading your blog. I stumbled upon it a few months ago and it has become one of my absolute favorites. The reason I love it is because it doesn’t fit neatly into any category and everything you write about is done with such passion and most importantly honesty. You have a beautiful voice and I wish more would be as brave as you, to write with such conviction. It is refreshing. God Bless and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  • Theresa - Your blog is perfect in every way. The first thing I do is check my emails, the second place I go is our blog. You are a total inspiration (and my kids are grown!!)!!!!!

  • Stefanie Orozco - I don’t follow this blog to learn about crafting or photography or parenting. I follow this blog because of YOU and the daily inspiration you always give on every topic imaginable. You are truly one of the most amazing people I admire.

  • Vénusia - Continue !!!!

  • Missy - Oh my! I can’t believe someone would take the time to write an email like that! I LOVE your blog and find so much encouragement in it every day. Thank you for continuing to share your heart with us despite those yucky emails. Keep deleting! :)

  • Elizabeth B. - Thanks for your honesty and for using your voice! Your blog is appreciated by myself and by the hundreds of people that leave positive comments—don’t forgot that!

  • Pam K - Ashley, I am sorry that you have to endure these attacks. I do think you are a brilliant child of God and I admire how you stand your ground. Continue to do what you do because I love it!

  • Bonnie - Ashley,
    Please never stop doing what you do! Your blog is amazing! It inspires me in so many ways! Thank you and have a very Merry Christmas!

  • Chantel - I love you blog for the diversity and honesty. And guessing by the number of comments on this post I am not alone. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family.

  • Shauna - well boooo! mean people! I love your blog , all of it!!! keep on being YOU!!!!

  • Susan - I love your blog and you and your precious family! Hope you have a beautiful & blessed Christmas. :)

  • Kristi - Well said.

  • Seriously Sassy Mama - I have a theory about mean people. They are mean, because they are jealous and insecure. They see something in you and your blog, that they are jealous of. They project that jealousy into ugly comments and emails. It is sad, and most certainly pathetic. If people are looking for crafts, stick to Pinterest. I enjoy looking at the pics of your family and your house! Keep you voice Loud!

  • Chrissie - I can hardly believe that people could be so cruel. I just don’t understand it as I am also of the opinion that if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

    Your blog is beautiful. I read every single article you write, and I love the variety and I love your voice. I’m a busy mother to two also, but I still look forward to reading each and every thing you post.

    I just wanted to comment to give you a little bit of encouragement, and I’m so happy to see so many other comments too. Thank you so much for writing your blog, and Merry Christmas!

    And especially good luck to you in your adoption journey. The picture you took where you said it was obvious someone was missing made me cry. Such a beautiful family.

  • Rochelle - I love you blog. All aspects of it! There’s a major problem in our society today: people just don’t seem to have respect for other people. It’s one thing to have an opinion. It’s another thing to use it to hurt others. You were given the gifts you have by our Father in Heaven; you’ve got to share them! Why is it not okay for you to make YOUR blog what YOU want it to be? Let it roll off your back. For every rude and disrespectful person there are at least four people that love you and find you inspiring. Merry Christmas!

  • Jessica - Ashley I love your blog! I look forward to reading it everyday. You are an amazing, creative, inspiring lady, and Mom. Thanks for being you and thanks for sharing with your readers. I think you have many loyal readers out there who feel the same way. Merry Christmas

  • Arlene - Ashley, yours is the only blog I faithfully read. I love the variety it contains. But most of all, I love your heart. You are gifted in such a way that you can express it clearly and creatively. My husband is a worship pastor and I am amazed and saddened at some of the negative comments he, and other pastor friends, sometimes receive from people trying to tweak the style of ministry, etc., so I can understand how some of these comments you receive can give you that yucky feeling in the pit of your stomach. But you are filling a void in this world that no one else can fill. Please continue to be faithful to be YOU and to share it with those of us who are encouraged by your journey.

  • Amy Manning - Ashley: hear me on this….. your critics have fueled a fire in you to re-evaluate and come to an important conclusion. A conclusion your fans already know. Your blog is you and we like it. God uses critics to force us to answer the big questions and He has turned their negatives into positives for you. Now you know that you know that you are on the right track. We love you for it. We love your heart. Be encouraged.

  • Dawn Trogdon - You have received A LOT of comments… hope you read them ALL!

    I READ YOUR BLOG BECAUSE:

    I AM AN ADOPTIVE MOM AND PROUD TO SAY WE WILL HAVE THAT IN COMMON SOME DAY SOON!! I love to read your openess about your children (all of them!!)

    I love your “cuteness” of your house ans style!

    Keep up the great blog!!

    Merry CHRISTmas

  • lisa - ashley, don’t apologize for who you are or what you do. don’t listen to the haters. the internet is free and isn’t that the great thing about people who blog, you don’t have to follow anyone else’s rules about what to say! it’s your own platform! don’t squash any part of yourself just because some people don’t agree with you. you can’t compartmentalize part of who you are or hide your faith, family, values, etc. keep sending out your positive energy. the world needs more of it!

  • rachelzana - I LOVE your blog. I think it is perfect. I visit every day and it is one of my VERY favorites. I can’t even tell you WHAT a HUGE influence the little window into your life has been to me and my faith and my Christian growth this last year. Plus your kids are awesome. Plus I love all of your wonderful projects even though I do not have crafting blood in my veins. Plus, you are a wonderful photographer. I’m so glad you choose to be the wonderful person God made you to be and that you are willing to share that with all of us to brighten our day and better our lives. I love how your blog includes all sorts of things.

  • Jessamy - Are you kidding me???!! People actually e-mail you with negative comments?? I don’t think I could think of a negative comment about your blog if I thought and thought for hours! You’re blog is amazing! Everything about it is is real, honest and true. That is what I love! I would love to say, don’t give those comments a second thought, but my skin is the same thickness as yours and I don’t think I could be as strong as you’re being. You are handling it beautifully, but I wouldn’t expect any less. You inspire me to be better, confirm how I’m feeling and warm my heart every day. Your blog is perfect in my eyes!
    You’re the best! I wish I was lucky enough to know you personally so I could give you a hug! Through the years of reading I feel like I do know you so, here is your hug…((hugs))!
    PS…can’t wait for the rest of the Christmas posts, especially sleeping under the tree pictures!

  • mia - why do people feel the need to announce that they’re not going to read something plus make hurtful comments in the process? hurtful, thoughtless people make my brain hurt. this is YOUR BLOG! always, always write what’s in your heart!

  • Emily S - I don’t understand why people would feel that they need to leave rude comments or emails like that. If they don’t like it then simply don’t read it. I absolutely love reading your blog. I love that you talk about a variety of topics. You are such a talented writer/crafter/photographer so don’t let anyone get you down!

  • Jamie - I rarely leave comments on blogs but I just wanted to say that I came to your blog because of your photography but I’ve become an avid reader because of your voice. I read every single one of your blog posts, which is a rare thing for me. I love hearing about your life and your passions. Your posts make me laugh, make me smile, and sometimes make me think about things that I usually don’t take the time to think about. So please know that for every person that doesn’t like your blog there are many of us that love it! :)

  • tara pollard pakosta - I love your blog, I love your heart!
    Keep being who you are! I love that about you!
    I don’t know why people can’t just skip over the parts they don’t like! It would just be so much nicer that way!
    much love to you!
    tara

  • Meaghan - I loved what you wrote. Very encouarging! What a great reminder that we should never stop using our voices for those who aren’t heard, despite what someone might say.

  • Carrie - Ashley – I don’t usually comment on the blogs I read but today I couldn’t help myself. I stumbled upon your blob a few months ago and read it several times a week. I’m not super Christian, definitely not handy with a camera, and don’t have kids BUT I love your blog. It’s a mix of everything going on in your life and I find it so inspiring on a day to day basis. I like reading all of your posts even if I don’t have that much in common with them. I appreciate you being so open with your life. Don’t change what you’re doing b/c of rude, ignorant, and snarky emails/comments.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and great New Year!

  • Cathy - Thank you for your sharing your heart and standing up for those who don’t have a voice or unable to stand up for themselves. I’ve found so many great blogs, shops, and organizations that a want to support through your blog. Thank you for having purpose behind your blog. Having it be bigger than yourself or your family – making a difference for others. I appreciate the glimpses into your life and the way you’ve chosen to raise your children. As a young woman, it’s inspired me and caused me to think about how I will/can raise my kids to help them have big hearts and outstretched hands. While letting them be themselves. Thank you Ashley. I love reading your blog and I love that you aim to make a difference with your life. That’s my goal too :)

  • Erin - Right on, Sista! This is *your* blog. Keep up the wonderful work!! So many of us loooove reading it!

  • Emily - Wow, 492 comments on this post? amazing! You know what? We are all just trying to do our best, live our lives, and be happy doing it. Do what you love and those of us who love you for you will follow. :) Merry Christmas sweet family!

  • Tara Avella - You are an inspiration and I light in this world. Just keep being who God created you to be :)

  • Emilie Spencer - Very well said Ashley….the commentor should remember that this is YOUR BLOG and not theirs!

    Such MEAN people out there in the world…we need to pray for him or her!

    KEEP ON BLOGGING…I read it daily and love EVERY minute of EVERY post!

  • ShelleyG - HOLY MOLY! What a DUMB email!! Ashley, you are precious! You remind me ALL the time what we are supposed to spend our time and energies on while we are here on earth. God uses what you write on your blog, so if you feel led to write about something, write about it! I apologize on behalf on that idiot.(sorry, I’m steamed…)

  • Chandra - You are the first blog I want to read everyday. I look forward to it. You have already had 400+ comments tell you what I too echo. Sharing all of you and not just one part makes you so much more appealing…real…human…a mom…like me. Please don’t stop what you do or filter and hesitate to share. It saddens me that someone would make such a comment and about your blog of all things. I feel sorry that this person felt the need to express such things in an nonconstructive manner with what seems like intentions to hurt. I feel sorry because that person seems to be in need of some kind words right now.

  • Shara - I can’t believe any one could write any email with a negative comment toward your blog but keep on doing what you’re doing. It warms my heart to see your kind heart towards the defenseless in this world and the things you are doing or promoting to change that. I love that you are a Christian – so thank you for sharing your faith. As Christians we can’t do anything better than that!
    God bless you and your blog.
    Wishing you a safe and blessed Christmas.

  • Katy S - You are so inspiring. I absolutely love your voice. Don’t let people silence that or don’t let fear or intimidation cause you to hesitate or quiet with your voice. I don’t comment much but I look forward to every post you put up because I feel like I can connect. I’m an artist, care deeply for social justice, love jesus, want to be a mom, desire to adopt, and I love to craft. I have always wanted to start a blog but I never could pick a focus but I am so inspired that you have a little of everything.
    Thank you for your voice. This blog and your voice are a blessing to many people.

  • Katie Daisy - Ashley,

    You’re amazing. Your blog is amazing. What you share with the world is beautiful.

    It perplexes me that someone thinks they have the right to tell you WHAT you can post on your own blog.

    Stay true to yourself, girl. Authenticity is the name of the game.

  • infairverena - I haven’t commented before, but I always read your blog, and I LOVE it, and I love that it isn’t a “category”, but I really feel we get to know you! Just wanted to encourage you :)

  • Becky J - Dear Sister in Christ,
    I am so sorry for the ugly words that humans so often say…I think they say hateful things because the truth convicts them and angers them and dares them to change..but they would rather stay in their selfish fogs….but, the truth is the truth…hallelujah for that- hallelujah for the Truth-Jesus!! Follow Him and your heart…Jesus had/has critics and He was and is Creator and Savior of all..hang in there girl, and “having done all, to stand!”

  • kiley - I love your heart. I love reading about all the areas of your life you’re willing to share. It’s inspiring, encouraging, challenging, and makes you real. Keeping writing and I’ll keep peeking in…

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

  • misty schluchter - i love your voice. i love your blog. keep doing what you are doing :) it makes me sick at my stomach that people can say things like that. hope you and your family have a very merry and blessed Christmas! -Misty

  • Tela - Ashley-I love your blog. I love that it doesn’t fit into a category. I love that you write about so many different aspects of your life, because I feel like I actually know you, as a person. Life is messy and complicated, and refuses to be labeled. Thank you for not shying away from that, but celebrating it.

  • Krystina - Those words hurt for me to read. It amazes me that there are people in this world that would write something so awful to another person.

    I personally come to your blog everyday – OK almost every day – and if I skip a day I will go back in time and read those posts too. I know this because I had surgery just a few weeks ago and would go several days without looking at my computer. When I finally had the stamina to be on the computer long enough, I went back several days at a time and would read your posts.

    I read your blog because I love your writing voice, I love your topics, I love your photos, I love your crafts, I love your style. You constantly inspire me and that is why I like to read your blog. I’m sorry that there are people in this world who have to purposely hurt other people and I’m glad there are people like you in this world who go out of your way to make it a better place for so many people.

  • Amy - Ashley, I am so sorry, that was a horrible email. I am surprised that person wrote that, rather than take a step back and adjust their habits, rather than projecting on you. I personally adore ALL of your posts, regardless of the subject matter, because I think it makes your entries well rounded, a full perspective on why your craft post meant as much as, a guest post, as a photography project, as the simple bliss of a home made fort, as your latest journey as a family, and how important it is to remember how we can help, and how grateful we are for the small things. I don’t know you personally but this blog makes me feel like I am checking in on a friend who has the coolest ideas, the sweetest family, and that I am praying for with their journey to adoption. So, I applaud your voice, and support your response, and wish true joy, happiness, love, and peace for you and your growing family this holiday season. God Bless, you are truely inspiring!

  • Georgia - Have you ever read the comments on an online news story? There are always negative ugly comments, and sometimes they have nothing to do with the post. There are just people out there who are negative and critical and have a need to spread their poison. But for every one of them reading your blog, there are dozens of us, probably hundreds of us that LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog. Don’t change a thing. Your blog is my daily zero calorie TREAT! I am entertained, inspired, encouraged, cheered up and challenged by it! Some days it is used by the Father to speak directly to me. Like you said, this blog is your heart. If someone doesn’t like, they should just stop reading it. But the rest of us will keep enjoying it.

  • vicki - For all the good in the world, there is so much bad to be had. Be part of the good. Feel all the feelings that God gave you, may they make you better, more thoughtful, closer to Him. Your journey in this world includes this very public space. Do all that you do to the glory of Him…no one else. He’s got your back. Great job hearing someone else’s well meaning words, being thoughtful on them, and then speaking your mind. Isn’t that what we want out kids to do? Rock on mamma…I promise…THOUSANDS of us are listening with open hearts…

  • Desiree - Some people are not happy with their own lives and feel like they have to spread their misery. DO NOT let this person make you feel bad or what you should write. This is YOUR blog..people sometimes make me sick to my stomach.

  • Beth Ann - Holy shit (wait, can I say that?). Holy buckets (is that better? Probably not….) anyway, I LOVE that you blog about everything, it is written by a human being, about your life. I read your blog in a way similar to as if I was sitting in a little coffee shop listening to a friend talk. I laugh, pray and laugh along with you. I say screw that mean girl (or boy) and keep blogging about your life!

  • Gevay - I love your blog! You rock! Don’t stop being who you are and who you are called to be because someone else doesn’t know how to be kind!

  • Jen B. - Wow. I’m really sorry you have to deal with people like that. I can’t imagine writing something mean spirited on a blog that is nothing but positive, inspiring and fun. Mean words hurt. Yuck. It takes courage to put yourself out there and to share personal experiences. It’s clear that you are doing what you love and believe in. That really shines through on your blog. You are real and you speak from your heart. I was drawn to your blog for the crafts and photography tips, but I stayed for everything else. My family and I have personally been affected by the words and ideas that you share on your blog. It is ALL good! It has been a pleasant surprise to open your blog expecting a new craft or cute photo and instead hearing about something that could change someone’s life. Like my five year old said after I made sure he understood that he would be giving his own money to buy a mosquito net, “It could save a life, mom!” Thank you for all that you share and thank you for mixing in important issues with the fluffy fun stuff. You have a gift with words and you are using your gift for good. Merry Christmas!

  • Abbie - Your blog and posts are truly lovely, you open your heart and mind to others and it so greatly appreciated! Those with closed minds and hearts live lonely lives. Thank you for the constant reminder to keep my mind and heart open to others around the world. The world needs more AshleyAnn’s in it. Merry Christmas!

  • LeAnne W - You go girl!!! I love, love, love your blog & everything it is about. I personally hope that you don’t ever stop. This blog is on my “favorite places and spaces” board on Pinterest!
    Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  • Cheryl G. - You go girl!
    (Fist in the air!)
    Merry Christmas!

  • Michelle R. - Way to go!!! I never comment but today is different. Your blog is amazing and as a follow of such a mighty God I have to tell you….never listen to those people! All you have to do in your life is live to one day hear our Lord and Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Emily - I love your blog because it is real. Real life, real people, real you. If someone doesn’t like what you have to say, they should just opt not to read it. That’s the beauty of the blogosphear, you read and write what you want. Can’t wait for your next post!

  • R Baker - I don’t have anything to add other than what’s already been said on here – but, there’s no such thing as too much support :) I LOVE your blog for exactly what it is – it is YOU. As you change, so will your blog. If I want a specific “type” of blog, I can easily find that somewhere else. Keep up the GREAT work you do – in life, and on your blog.

  • Amy - Oh, Ashley. This is my favorite blog. I hate that people are so cruel. You have inspired me to craft, photograph, give, donate, & even start my own blog. Meeting you @ Craft Weekend was like a dream come true!!! {ok, is that weird? Don’t get freaked out on me. ;)} I love your willingness to share from your heart…whatever that is. Don’t change. I love you just the way you are. And yes, if I were crafting with you in your kitchen right this moment I would totally sing that to you. ;)

  • Andrea - Wow, some people are just plain thoughtless. You rock, your blog rocks, your family rock!!! If “they” dont like it then “they” dont need to come back. Dont let the negative stuff break your spirit, you are so much more than that!! Have a very Merry Christmas……

  • joni - I don’t understand why anyone would write a comment like that. Your blog is wonderful. Looks like a lot of readers agree. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  • Kimberly renee - You are beautiful. The fact that you’re getting those hateful comments is because you and your voice are making a difference in this world of blogging and I appreciate you and thank god that he is using you!! Your blog is for you not for making other people happy and you inspire me and I write my blog the same way you do so thank you for being an inspiration to me!!!

  • Becs - Well said and I love your blog. :)

  • Jessie - Ashley,

    Your heat is beautiful. It is full of love for your children, the hurting and beauty and that’s what makes you beautiful. I haven’t ever commented before, but I look at your blog every day and no matter what you’ve written, it makes me smile every day. Your heart is also brave, brave for writing about something so hurtful to you. Very. Brave. Blessings.

  • Rachel - What is wrong with people?! Clearly they were never taught “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Ashley, I’m 24, from the Pacific NW, unmarried, I don’t want kids and I’m not religious in the slightest- we don’t really have much in common- and I visit your blog EVERY Day and read it all. These people must be intimidated by your good heart. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  • Amanda - Wow- people can be so rude! I can’t believe the comments you have gotten. It just doesn’t make sense. To be honest with you- I stop reading blogs where the author doesn’t really show who they are. The ones where it is just craft after craft and no personality. Your blog is theeeee best. Don’t let others get you down.

  • Erin Bichara - Ashley, please keep on. Keep writing on what inspires you. You inspire me to be a better Mom & human. Love & Merry Christmas from The Golden State!

  • Ingrid - This is my favorite blog, I love what you post about cause it is from the heart – can’t say that about many blogs. I love that you are going to keep doing what you’re doing!!
    p.s. I never understand why people don’t just move onto the next blog or the next post if they don’t like one?? Seems strange to me to be so negative to someone!

  • Lyss - Ashley,

    I hate it people get mean things like this sent to them. You will be persecuted for your faith :)It hurts me so I know it has to hurt you so much. Just remember hurting people say hurtful things :)
    Merry Christmas
    Lyss

  • Lyss - Hurting people say hurtful things :( I think you are great and I am glad you use your voice! You bless a bajillion people for everyone that you offend :)

    Merry Christmas!

  • Rachel C - True dat! Proud of you, friend.

  • eRin @ Growing Up Senge - Ashley, your blog is a beautiful glimpse into your beautiful heart. You have created a beautiful family and a beautiful home and life for yourself and your children, and it is a blessing to everyone that you share it all with the world so we can all be inspired and take a little bit of whatever we need.

    These silly people are clearly not smart enough to realize that they don’t have to like or agree with everything everyone does all of the time, and that no one is forcing them to do so or to read every word on every post on every blog they visit. Even worse, they are too small-minded to realize that seeking out other’s perspectives and listening with an open heart can only benefit them, probably in ways they can’t even imagine. I feel sad for the narrow paths they will find on their journeys.

    For every crabapple who takes the time to write these silly comments, know that there are many more on your side who would shush them to hear your voice. In the hustle & bustle of working mamahood, I don’t comment often enough but you can chalk up one positive thought from me for every negative comment you get.

  • Philippa - I love your blog and find all parts inspirational!

  • Betsy C. - Any one of those comments would be heartbreaking to me! Your strength amazes me! I have to say that your blog is a never-ending source of inspiration for many aspects of my life. And the most appealing thing about your blog and your writing is that it does not fit into a category…if you tried to squeeze it into one, it would destroy it. Keep writing and sharing your heart. Thank you for the seemingly candid look into your life…I truly enjoy your chronicling of it! Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family.

  • Erin - Well said! I will never understand negative comments on the content of a blog. With millions of blogs out there there is no need to read one you dont like so why complain and try to tell someone to change who they are. Thank you for being you!

  • Britney - Ashley, I hope from reading all these comments you realize how loved you are! And I think one of the main reasons you are so loved, is because of your voice. On my google reader, your blog is under a folder that I call “everyday blogs” and there aren’t many others, but they are the ones I am most eager to read day after day. Keep up the good work, your format is really what attracts so many of us!

  • Heidi - I am in shock people would be so mean. Seriously, it shocks me. I have never commented on your blog but I have to say you are awesome and I hope all these positive comments more than make up for those negative ones.

  • Stacey - Good for you and AMEN sister! This blog is so important to me because you are real.. You keep it real Ashley Ann… and there are a lot of us that love you for it.

    <3

  • Megan M - Hello Ashley,

    Can I just say how lovely your blog is? I read it everyday. I’m so glad that you have shared your talents, family, and life with the world. I always look forward to reading about everything you write whether it was an everyday moment, a new craft, or your humanitarian efforts. Your blog is inspiring so keep chuggin’ along! Don’t let anyone get you down. :)

    P.S. It might be helpful to save all these loving comments to a word file, then when someone says something mean, you can look back on all this love and smile!

  • Tawnya Smith - Ashley,
    I love, love, love your blog and you put it so simply in this post why. You are unique, and you stand out from most blogs. You are refreshing because of the Light that shines out of you. Keep writing, keep posting, keep living as He leads you. You are an encouragment and inspriation to this creative mama, and I’m thankful to have come across your blog a few months ago. Yours is one that I have kept reading and referred so any others too because of your autentic spirit and nature. I love hearing about all of the facets of your life…not because I’m a blog stalker, but because as a fellow follow of Jesus I’m so encouraged by the things He’s teaching you as they are some of the same things my family is going through. All that to say….keep on going and be encouraged!

  • Jen - Ashley YOU and you’re blog are amazing because of all of you put together! I admire you more than you’ll ever know, and I don’t say thank you enough. Thank you for being you!!!

    Have a Merry Christmas:)

  • Fran - LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog and all that you do – that’s why I always come back to it. Keep up the amazing work- you have a brilliant attitude about the critics.

  • Fran - Love this blog and all that you do!

  • Sadie - First off, I have a hard time understanding why someone would even say something like this. Yes, I agree, if you don’t like it- don’t read it. That doesn’t make sense. I would be like reading an atheist blog and posting and talking bad about them. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. My heart aches for you b/c I honestly ADORE reading your blog and I dream of having an attitude like you. I struggle in my life with sadness even though I have joy all around me. You make me want to be a better person to my children, husband, and you make me want to make a difference in lives around me. Although we are not able to adopt at this time in our lives, we are looking into fostering in the near future and making a difference. KEEP POSTING please. Your blog is the one that keeps me going in the mornings!

  • Rebecca - I am so very glad that you responded just like you have. When I first read the beginning of the letter I was afraid, afraid your voice wouldn’t continue to shine through. It is so hard to see people be turned off as we grow in our faith and as we share our breaking heart for others. I don’t have an amazing blog like yours, I come here though on a regular basis to be encouraged. Please, please continue to blog, you encourage me in my faith, my family, and my photography. Stay true to who the Lord has called you to be.

  • Danielle - The fact that anybody would say any of those things INFURIATES me!! You have hundreds of comments already saying everything I want to say, but it boils down to: YOU ARE AMAZING!! I don’t have to tell you, “Don’t change” because I know you’re strong enough to know you don’t have to. You’re in my prayers and I hope people will grow up and stop being negative! :)

  • Chelle - my first comment on your blog…long over due: I am inspired by you, I appreciate you, and adore everything you share because it is all a part of you…and more people should share their voice and not be afraid to put it all out there…keep doing what you are doing, because it is all amazing!

  • Heather - Ashley, I’ve always particularly appreciated your charity/adoption/orphan/Haiti/etc posts. They give your blog a depth that few mom/photography/craft blogs have, and that’s why I’m still reading after 2+ years. Those posts convey a mindfulness of your place in this world, of your caring heart, and the ability each of us has to give (which you act on). These things are uncomfortable to think about because they shake us out of our complacency- once you visualize a child drinking filthy water, it’s hard to forget. Being challenged is wonderful that way, because it changes us for the better, and it inspires us to do something. A lot of us get that challenged-in-a-good-way feeling from your blog. Thank you.

  • Ai - It is my very first time to comment on a blog, I REALLY LOVE YOU BLOG! I don’t understand why such people will comment such things. YOU inspire alot of people, Keep it up! May God continue to use you as His instrument to help and inspire His people. God bless!

  • rachel-wildflower photography - i love your blog. :) i love the photography aspect, the crafty aspect, the decorating aspect, the faith aspect…all of it. i love that you are real and that you show the real you. :) hugs and merry christmas!

    rachel

  • Stephen - “When you stick your head above the crowd, you’re bound to catch a few tomatoes.”

    Your site is an inspiration, in all aspects. Don’t change anything about it. Anything.

  • Bethany - I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and maybe only commented a couple times- but I wanted you to know- at the time that I’m writing this there are 543 comments. I haven’t read them all, but all the ones I’ve seen are in support of you. Remember this when you hear from someone who has such negativity in their heart. SO MANY MORE people love your blog and love you. I really enjoy your blog and I hope you’ll keep it up-whether you post about dusting the living room or changing the world!

  • Shannon R - Hi Ashley, I’m also a first time commenter. I read your blog BECAUSE you write about all of these things. Something to look forward to every day – Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  • Yanet of 3 Sun Kissed Boys - What?! People actually write things like that to you?! When I started reading this post I thought it was some kind of joke and I wasn’t sure where you were going with it. What’s wrong with people??

    You’re awesome and so is your blog. I’m glad you’re grounded enough to not let the nay-sayers stop you and your passions.

    Glad you wrote this post too. It’s a big SUCK IT to the non-fans (yet still readers) of your blog.

  • Amy - Haters gonna hate. I look forward to reading your blog every day as a bright spot in my typically cranky mornings. You are an inspiration in so many ways!

  • Joy - nothing inspiring to say, except I’m sorry you had to deal with a grump. In a small way, even that is inspiring because if you get a grumpy response from from all the positive energy you put out here, well, I guess most anybody could expect this to happen at some time or another. I love your blog, thanks for that.

  • Amber - I don’t know if you will ever read this comment, but I will post it all of the same. I am a working mother of adopted twins. I work with the homesess community at a non for profit. I read only your blog. I read it because you are crafty, you inspire me to really have fun with my kid-o’s, you remind me that those who believe that they can change the world; do. Its that simple. You love the Lord, and it’s good to be reminded that God is good, he has worked miracles in your life. That reminds me that he has done so in mine too. You do have a voice; We all do.
    One last thing, I admire your rentless effort to model for your children the qualities God wants them to emulate. You don’t know me, but you have influnced my life in a positive way. For that I am a better mom and wife-Thank you. Merry Christmas!

  • Heather Mattos - wouldn’t change a single thing. ever ever ever.

  • Jessica - To me, your blog is perfect. I donated to Samaritan’s purse because of you. Keep on…

  • meme - Dont worry about her/him.. continue doing what you’re doing.. you still have us =)

  • Alycia - Its sad that people take time out of their lives to write you a mean and hurtful comments. Every single day I check 3 of my favorite blogs, one of which is yours. I take 5 minutes every day to pull up those blogs and read what you all have to say. I do it becuase I enjoy seeing the part of your life that you put out there for everyone. I know what you write about, the things you care about, the things that you are waiting on, the things that are important to you; and that is what I like to read on your blog. If you started posting things I didnt care for anymore, I would simply stop viewing your blog. A mean and hurtful comment informing you that you are losing a viewer is not going to change who you are, what you care about or what you blog about; it is just a low blow to a good person. I personally love, and am inspired by your blog. What you are doing a all good, and its hard for everyone to see that. Im glad you have people in your life who can remind you of that when you are down. Keep blogging about your life, and what you care about, and your faith and your family becuase that is why I read your blog. I applaud you, and thank you for your constant inpsiration.

  • Erin - Oh my word, I LOVE that your blog isn’t the same all the time!!!! I think that’s part of what makes it a blog that I keep coming back to read, again and again.

    For every person with an opinion that should have been kept to themselves, there are at least 10 of us who read, love what we read, and maybe don’t take the time to comment about it every day.

    Keep doing what you’re doing because you do it SO well!

  • Shirley - Keep on marching and stay strong! Here is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson which I am sure you have heard before, but one that helps me put things in perspective when I need encouragement.

    “To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived–this is to have succeeded.”

  • Brandi - I love your blog !!! Ignore that post!” how rude are they!M

  • Julia - amen.

  • Bethany - I LOVE your blog. I love it because you are passionate about crafting, family, kids, adopting and Jesus. ALL of which I am also passionate about. So thank you for keeping it real! THANK YOU!

  • Mariah Milan - By the number of comments that you’ve gotten, I hope you see how wonderful your writing is, how many people flock to your blog to get a little inspiration – either with craft, parenting, photography, social issues, ect. Sometimes your voice is a positive light when I’m having a rough day. Sometimes it’s not related at all to what I’m going through. But the beauty of it is that it’s an outlet for you. I have thin skin too so I know how you must be feeling. But you rock. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • sarah k - I for one (and it looks like I’m one of about 600 so far!) will keep reading your blog as long as you’re blogging. Yours is one of the most inspirational, enjoyable, challenging, and encouraging that I have in my reader. So go ahead, just try and get me to stop reading. :)

    Merry Christmas!

  • Cyndi B - Oh my, sounds like someone peed on her cornflakes.. We all have rough days it’s just sad when someone feels that they need to attack someone else in order to feel better. I love your blog & how real & raw you are. Don’t change a thing.. keep on truckin! … xoxo, a big fan

  • Leanne - You are amazing. Well said!

  • Sarah - I love your blog and find you to be very inspiring in so many ways. Please stay true to yourself! Merry Christmas!

  • sarah - Gosh, people can be so rude.
    I love that you do what you do. If I don’t want to read it – I don’t. Simple. No meanness needed.
    Lovely written post and I hope you keep on doing what you do, because I enjoy it.

  • Joy Fisher - Well said, Ashley! Yay for you. I’m just sorry that you ever have to read a comment from someone that doesn’t get that this is YOUR blog, not theirs. You, and only you, get to decide the content. And I’m also glad you don’t let those meanies convince you that you need to censor any aspect of what you want to talk about on this blog. So many people come here to read this blog because of the whole person that you are. You do this blog for yourself, but there are so many of us that take something from it as well. It’s your joy, but it is our joy too and I appreciate that you are willing to read a harsh email that unfortunately sits with you for a while and still come back and write your blog. It’s weird to feel like you no someone whom you’ve never really met, but I would be really disappointed if you stopped writing. I read your blog everyday and love everything about it!!!

  • Jess Martinez - I love your blog and I love what you write about. Stay you!!!

  • Nikki C - I think we should all say THANK YOU to bloggers for sharing your lives in such an open way. Disrespectful and critical comments? Keep them to yourself….didn’t your mother teach you that?? Mine did.
    Rock on, Ashley.

  • Suzanne M - I read your blog everyday and have been touched in some many ways. I am so thankful for you blog! Many Christmas blessings to you and your family!

  • Tatum - That’s so sad that people can be harsh. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

    Love your blog.
    I’m a mother
    I’m a Wife
    I’m a blogger
    I’m a Mormon
    I’m a crafter

    I love your blog and your honesty. It make your life seem like all of ours and not just the fluff some people try to portray in pictures and blogs.

    Love it!

  • rachel schindler - Despite the negativity surrounding your blog, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. I love to read your blog. I hope you keep doing just what you are doing, Being Yourself…Ho Ho Ho…

  • Rachel Bruce - Stay the course…I am blessed and encouraged as a blogger for reading this post, and am now subscribed to your RSS feed.

  • Darci - Good for you. Love your blog and am encouraged by it regularly. Thanks for writing.

  • Sommer - Ashley,
    I usually don’t post comments on blogs but felt compelled to in this case. I absolutely LOVE your blog and all of your posts. I am so thankful there are strong, loving Christian women like yourself making your voice heard. I am sorry that there are people out there attacking that but please know there are so many that support you. I just wanted to encourage you that there are readers out there not commenting but reading, absorbing and loving what you post. Thank you for making a difference.

  • Joanne Freeman - Love your blog and love your heart. Thankyou for not giving up.

  • Kate - Although I’m the millionth commentor, I’m going to pretend like I’m the first. I love your blog. I love how you write everything that is in your heart, it touches me and makes me want to be a better mom. I love that you are who you are. I believe you have been given this blog as a gift too, and you are doing a wonderful job. The fact that someone will say such harsh words about your blog means that it is working. Where there is opposition, there is goodness happening. Bless you! And have a Merry Christmas!

  • Alisha McKay - Wow, I’m so sorry you’re getting feedback like that, Ashley. I wonder if the people who make a point of expressing their disdain feel voiceless themselves in some significant area of their life, so they take it out in an “easy” way that doesn’t require much accountability–like attacking someone else’s voice. Despite all of that, though, I’m inspired by your honesty, grace, and tenacity in sticking to your guns and following the heart God has put in you. You are a blessing in more ways than one, and not only am I inspired by your creativity, but I’m encouraged and challenged by your heart for others. THAT is what brings me back to your blog day after day…the HEART behind the words and pretty pictures. As a fellow sister in Christ, I bless you and affirm you, Ashley Campbell! You’re wonderful and oh so lovely. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family! XO

  • Elizabeth Humphrey - O, Ashley, My heart goes out to you. Like so many of your followers, I do read blog everyday and share it with my friends, family, and students. I am also so thankful for you and your blog. Two things that struck me was your list of who you are and how you have so much in your mind. I feel the same way and having a space to share what you love is what God want you to do. You were bless with many talents, it is obvious as I read your blog. I am a teacher I can’t tell you the countless parents and students that dislike something about me but I never discount those students (especially the ones I don’t know) that I impact or touch in some way. Keep your faith and belief that you doing right things! Because you are!

  • Julie - Ashley, You are the first blog I read each day and sometimes the only. Your honesty helps me keep the course in my crazy world of stay at home mommy with two little boys. . .and has encouraged me to document so much more of our daily life which has now become a precious gift for all of us. Thank you for opening up your heart and your family to all of us.

  • Kim - This is your space, your blog, to post as you see fit. And I thank you for that. Because of you, I discovered the Samaritan’s Purse organization. Because of you, my photography has improved. You bring a smile to my face daily. Please, don’t stop anything you feel is the right thing to do.

  • Life in Eden {amy} - I am many things — some of the same things you are, some different. I enjoy getting to KNOW someone through their blog, not just reading about a particular topic. THAT was the original blogging community. People sharing themselves — their gifts, their passions, their history, their ideas. Don’t lose give up that. It is the beauty of these online communities.

    I don’t comment often, but I read. Often.

  • Jessica - Keep on writing what you love! Your blog is such an inspiration :)

  • Michelle Wear - Ashley,
    First of all, You are awesome. Your blog is just as awesome as you are. Many people come to you for inspiration. Secondly, Thank you for your generosity in sharing many aspects of your life. “That Person” needs to know that they were disrespectful to you. If they have nothing kind to say…they should not say anything AT ALL. If they are not partial to what you are sharing on your blog…they can visit another blog. I totally understand constructive criticism. But, booo on them. Everything you are and do is Amazing. I hope to someday inspire others like you inspire me. Thank you friend! Keep on keepin’ on & Stay True to yourself…So what of the nay-sayers. Don’t change a thing.

  • Jenn - Ashley,
    You, your family and your blog are all beautiful inside and out! Whatever you write about is your choice and if people have a problem with it, they should close the tab and move on with their life. For a person to take time out of life and actually type that negativity to you is unbelievable to me! I know it probably stings, but please don’t let mean people bring you down. The rest of us appreciate your passion! Keep doing what you do!

  • Ashley - Ashley – You are an amazing woman, mom, wife, Christian, crafter, advicate & blogger. I find too often people try to lose their own identity to fit the “status quo”. Thank you for being strong and standing up for what you believe in and feel strongly about. You ROCK!

  • Leslie - I have been following you for about 6 months now, and I love your blog. Your values, your heart, your passion for the Lord and your family, and others. I enjoy the craftiness and photography – but it’s your heart that I love. You are a light in a dark world. You are being a voice for Him. I admire you and your convictions. I have prayed for your family for the adoption. My brother-in-law and his family have adopted twice from China and are about to adopt 4 more from Ethiopia! What a true calling that is from the Lord. May He bless you in your obedience.

  • Nan Tedesco - Hi! Today- I found this blog…I like others just HAD to respond to the post of
    The reader who will ” no longer read” your site. From a mother who has
    Adopted 2 children, has the SAME DESIRE to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves…KEEP ON SPEAKING!!! In fact LIFT YOUR VOICE
    LIKE A TRUMPET FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT! The Lord many times says
    To “CRY OUT!!” It is who you are and Who HE is in you! It saddened me to
    See the words of not caring to hear about foster care and orphans…SO so
    Precious to HIs heart they are. Ashley, keep ” fighting the good fight”. All That matters is when you stand before Him and what HE says…
    Blessings upon blessings on your efforts love and prayers. May He comfort
    You and give you increase in the works of your hands..

  • Kimberlee Jost - That had to hurt.
    I am glad that you are being who you were made to be, and not some engraven image that somebody else can bow down in front of to feel good. Is that harsh? I so believe in the truth. Thanks for sharing yours.

  • Jordan - This comes down to a very basic concept…..this is YOUR blog and you can put whatever you want on it!!

  • Peggy - How courageous of you to speak out. I like blogging for all the reasons you stated that you like it. I know it is risky to put ourselves out there, but I can’t honestly think of one grand, good, glorious and grace-filled event in history that didn’t happen through someone taking a risk. Please don’t change how you write and manage this blog. It is a bright spot in my day.

  • Amanda Olinger - While in college one of my dearest friends wrote a song called “Voice” (http://www.myspace.com/ellybacher) and the chorus goes:
    I’ve got a voice and I will use it.
    I’ve got a life and I will loose it.
    I’ve got a heart that beats with purpose.
    I’ve got a hope that will turn this world around!

    I still think of these words. The human heart is a tender thing and I applaud your courage; putting your beautiful heart on display for all of us to see. You are wonderful, dear sister. Please don’t let this easily fickle world make you feel any less than you really are. With great love, Amanda

  • Claudia - Ashley, I have been following your blog since Firecracker was in the hospital. Since then I check back and love reading your adventures with your family. I have four children myself but the opposite, 3 girls and one boy. You remind me that time is fleeting and that this phase is so short to stop and enjoy my kids. Keep writing what you do there are lots of us who love your blog.

  • MJ - This post reminded me of a quote that I love: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Emerson
    I like that your blog is about you and your likes. That is what a personal blog should be. That is why I read it. Thank you for being yourself. :)

  • cheree - I love your blog. All.Of.It. It inspires me to be a better person. To want to teach my boy to be a good person. Keep being who you are – the whole package. The nay sayers can go elsewhere.

  • Michelle - Hmm, all the reasons you mentioned those people didn’t like about your blog are all the reasons I keep coming back. :)

  • Margo - Ashley, it breaks my heart to hear of the painful things people have said to you. I appreciate you, your blog, your honesty and the fact that you share your life with the rest of us.

  • able mabel - The reason I keep coming back to your blog is because of the variety of posts. It’s not all about one topic, it’s all about everything. That’s what I love about it. If a post doesn’t pertain to me or it’s something that I’m not interested in, I just skip it and know that tomorrow will be something entirely different.

  • Katie - Thanks for being true – to yourself, to God, to your family, and to your blogging audience! If they can’t enjoy a place that you’ve opened up your heart to share with them, then they are the ones missing out. Let your voice be heard.

  • Kirsten Marie - Thank you so much for standing up for what you feel is right for you. I guess as I read some of the statements from the email, I started wondering what kind of a person would write things like that when all you do is prmote doing good in the world around you. That person must have some serious issues they are dealing with/have delt with and therefore find it necessary to try and put others down – what a sad life for them, hopfully they can come to understand building others up is SO rewarding, and brings true happiness. I am glad you made this decision and that you will continue writing about all the thoughts, hopes, actions, expereinces you have. I have read your blog for over a year, and I never get tired of it. Thank you,
    God bless.

  • Jen from insideways - I’m so sad that you got mean emails :(. I know sometimes (or almost all the time for me) the negative voices are so much louder than the nice ones! Hopefully all of our happy comments can help drown those negative nellies out!

    I love your blog! You are such a compassionate and whole person with all of the varied interests of someone you totally want to be best friends with. Keeping doing what you do in the wonderfully genuine and honest voice you have and you will always have awesome fans :)

    Merry Christmas and thank you for writing this blog for the rest of us to enjoy!!

  • Simply Lanny - Are you kidding me ??? really ??? I love you Ashley Ann your blog your kiddo and everything else !!! keep it up … Merry Christmas :)

  • amber - Not to mention, when it comes down to it, you will only answer to One when this life is over. And I think, in my personal opinion, that you are building yourself some great things where it counts, & that’s all that matters. Doing what God has asked of you & being a willing vessel. I think you’ve got that down & am so grateful for a “friend” online I may never know personally, but who reminds me daily where to keep my focus. You have been entrusted with much…that speaks volumes. Keep it up!

  • Desiree - I love your blog and how you just reveal your heart in it! I agree: if you don’t like a blog, then don’t read it! Keep doing what you’re doing! I love reading about your kids, your crafts, your heart, your home, and your faith!

  • Kristina L - Thank you for being real and multi-faceted. The world puts too big of an emphasis on niches. Sometimes I think people like to put others in niches because it makes it easier to “understand” them. But most people are complex and shouldn’t be boxed in.

    I hate when people ask me what I do for a career and then think they understand me. I’m a million other things too…why do I need a label?

  • Heather - My mouth dropped open.. how someone can be so … ugh no words. Anyways you are a light and I love your honesty.. your passion and just you. Please never stop doing what you are doing. It’s inspiring. We all have SO much to learn from you. Keep shining your light.

  • therese - you go girl! it’s my happy place! xo t.

  • Celeste - It saddens me that you even had to write this. Ashley — you rock! Keep doing what you’re doing! Merry, Merry Christmas to you + your family!

  • Jen - Amazing post. I tend to think that coming to someone else’s blog and criticizing what they write about is akin to coming into someone’s else’s home and criticizing what they make for dinner, what they wear, what pictures they hang on their walls. I’m sure there have been both rude comments and polite suggestions about your content, but in the end, this is your blog, your space, and your voice. Keep making it heard. It is lovely.

  • Lindsay Ross - I absolutely love your blog. For the sole reason that it contains so many different things. Every morning I am full of suspense and excitement to get to work so I can get online and check your blog. I find it exciting not knowing what I will find. Whether it’s a new craft, a recipe, some new pictures of your adorable kids, updates on your adoption…etc. I love it all. You are inspiring and by reading your blog I have learned about so many other organizations, adoptions & ways to help out that I never would have known about or thought about before and it has really inspired me to do more for others. Thank you for helping me with that. I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

  • tammie - Ashley – keep doing what you are doing! I love coming here everyday no matter what you write about. I hope you will revisit all these comments next time you get a nasty email so you remember how much you are loved!

  • Traci - I personally think that everyone has a right to express themselves, some just do it in ways that are not as appropriate as others. The person that left you the rude comment did not have to read your blog, neither did they have to leave you a rude comment. They did so because they are unhappy and they want everyone around them unhappy too! Personally I think they need a big dose of Jesus! Merry Christmas and keep up the good work! God Bless, Traci

  • Jill - Thank you for staying true to your convictions, Ashley. I’ve been reading your blog since Firecracker was brand new, but think I’ve only commented twice. Clicking over to your blog is a little treat I give myself mid-afternoon every day. My life is so very, very different from yours but in your stories and in what you share you speak truly and authentically to so very many of us. You might want to think about adding “teacher” to your list of roles. I hope you never lose your voice. I also hope that the holidays are peaceful and joyful for you and your family, wherever they may be.

  • Rachel - I adore your blog! It is the first I check when I log into my reader. Thanks for ALL of your wonderful posts.

  • Nicole - I love your blog! I’m happy that I have the choice to read it everyday and I’m happy that you have the choice to share with us everyday. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Rachel T. - To echo the sentiment of everyone else here, we love you – you just as you are, your blog just as it is, and your family just as they are (with the coming addition of course). We are here because we love you, all parts of you. I used to read a million blogs and then got tired of the “topic related” blogs, so I just stopped reading them. But I stuck with you and a couple of others (I think I read maybe six or seven total now), but you are still my favorite. I love your family and your words. Oh, and I’m an atheist, and I’m still here every day. I just love everything about this place, even your words about Christianity. We’re not going anywhere, and we’re the ones and your family are the ones who matter.

  • Kindra Harris - I love each and every little part of your blog. It’s a wonderful blog! You have wonderful ideas. I love hearing about your current project, what you’re doing with your kids and about your adoption process. I the number one thing I love is that you are a Christian and you’re not afraid to publicly make that known; I thank you for that! Don’t let somebody try and take away part of who you are! May God bless you in every little thing! Have a Merry Christmas!!!

  • kate - Well, luckily for all those people that send you the crap God gave them the wonderful choice of free will and they don’t have to choose to read it! No reason to send you a note then can just stop clicking on your in google reader or better yet they can unsubscribe. They can also take their crap and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine for the following reasons a) they don’t know you, except through your writing which ps I feel like we are best friends! and if they don’t like it they can peace out b) online bullying is mean and they should grow up and c)no one asked for their opinion so they should leave it out!

    Keep doin’ what you do momma! I’d miss reading your adoption journey if you stopped as well as it is really helping my husband come to my side of life as my heart has been calling me to adoption for years!

  • tracy a - Well, if you ever receive a negative comment after this, just revisit this post and be encouraged. i am blown away by the outpouring of love you have received. i had to stop reading actually because it made me cry! God is pleased by the work you do, and (apparently) so are hundreds of others. bless you friend.

  • Amanda - Way up here in snow-less Minnesota I read your blog daily. I adore your blog, I love to relate to or try to. KEEP yourself, as you are! You are such a BLESSING to so many!!

  • Emilie - i wish i had the courage to be so transparent with others that i don’t even know! you are brave and i appreciate it! thank you!

  • Irene NZ - Oh my goodness Ashley, what a shocker! Cant believe why people would be so mean. Just for the record, your blog is the first thing I will go to in the morning, and your story never fails to brighten up my day, be it about your cute kids, crafts, or your story about adopting and faith in Jesus Christ. Do not let one negative comment bring you down.. you know we all love you. Big Hugs to you xx

  • Kimberlee - Good for you!

  • Meg - Oh Ashley, He has given you heavenly vision and a powerful voice…thank you for always using it, your blog is a blessing!

  • Karen - Ashley- I’m sorry to hear about the awful comments..but I’m glad you wrote this post.. because your voice has been an significant influence on my life. :) You have inspired me in so many ways, as a mother, as a believer, as an artist… Never thought I would “follow” anyone’s blog…but I have been following yours.. and it has been such a joy. :) So thank you for enduring the bad comments and keep on writing!! :)

  • Angelina V - I am so sorry that there are people who use their voices for such negative purposes. I am also shocked and amazed that people have the nerve to try to tell you what YOU should be writing about on YOUR blog! Incredible! Thank you for writing and inspiring, thank you for being authentic and amazing! Happy Holidays!

  • Jenny - Yours is one of the first blogs I started reading, and it’s still one of my favorites. I think one of the coolest things about the blog world is being exposed to people’s ideas and passions. I really believe that we’re all called to different causes and sharing them with one another is one of the best things we can do. Sometimes, your posts make me uncomfortable, but I never think you shouldn’t be writing about clean water, or adoption, or children who need help. My discomfort is my problem. I’m grateful that you take the time share. It opens my eyes and my heart. And your kids always make me smile!

    I hope you and your adorable family have a Merry Christmas!

  • Ruama Musse - Hi Ashley,
    I don’t usually comment here but am a frequent reader of your blog. I accidentally came across your blog and loved it ever since I first read a post. I think that what you have to say makes sense to me here in Brazil as well as to other thoughtful readers anywhere in the world. If some don’t want to think too hard or feel responsible for their take on the world, it’s their loss. Keep up the great work!
    R.

  • JoAnn - Ouch! Well she shouldn’t stop by here to read! I do because I find your blog interesting and just love seeing your adorable family!

  • Carola - For every “ destructive” criticism that you receive, you must think about all the smiles that you give to the people that read your blog. You make me smile every morning with the lovely photographs of your gorgeous family and with the clever and beautiful thing that you make. Un gran abrazo desde Chile.

  • Linda - I was turned onto your blog by my daughter because of the cool craftiness. I am not a frequent reader, however I do check it out occasionally. I agree with the other reader that said “this is your blog”. No one HAS to read it and if someone doesn’t agree with whatever you post, then that’s just a difference of opinion. It doesn’t make anyone right or wrong. That is what makes this wonderful world go ’round. Have an awesome day!!

  • amy jupin - this post has certainly stirred many, many hearts!
    to say i agree wholeheartedly with this post is an understatement.
    this is some of your finest writing ever, ashley, and i think it’s because you were writing straight from the gut, showing your fierce passion for your beliefs.
    you have once again moved me to tears and made me do “the ugly cry”.
    such wonderful things.
    please don’t EVER change.

  • brandy - thank you, ive always wanted to start a blog but never have because there is always that one person that has to be bitter and a party pooper.
    i think it is awesome that you are able to provide for a child that otherwise would never have a home.
    i find you inspiring.

  • the whyte house - ah, 658 comments before me and everyone has covered what i would say(um, the nicer comments, that is. :)), so i’m just gonna veer off subject…

    if you “happen” to drive by rhema, and again just “happen” to have your camera w you, i’d be okay with viewing a photo on here of their billion lights display. :) haha.

    thank you for not only being the first thing i read in the morning, but the ONLY blog i read every weekday. maybe you should write weekend posts just for me?! kidding, kidding!!! :)

    merry christmas, campbell’s.

  • Emily - I love everything about your blog. It inspires me and rejuvinates my soul like an old friend does. Thank you for staying true to what you believe and for continuing to write what is on your heart.

  • RaD - Boy you have a lot of comments on this post. But I’ll still risk the fact that you may never read this comment to say this:

    PLEASE DON’T CHANGE. I check your blog daily to see what you are up to. I have been praying for your adoption, encouraged because our family hopes to one day adopt. I loved reading about the little boys you had over at Thanksgiving and tried to see if we could do it too. You have so many great ideas and such a good heart. And I believe God is using this blog to bless others and to encourage us. Thank you for being you, PLEASE DON’T CHANGE!

    :)

  • Amy K - Hi Ashley. I haven’t read your blog very much, but I just wanted to give you a bit of encouragement. This verse has encouraged me many times before… “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9

  • Wendi - Amen! Sorry people feel the need to dump their issues on you. Blogs are for reading, educating, inspiring and enjoying, not analyzing and critiquing. Blessings on you and your family.

  • elizabeth - this may not get a glance seeing as there are SO many comments but you TRULY are the only blog i read consistently & *it’s* b/c of everything you are! i’m SO very glad that you aren’t changing a thing about your blog!! it’s *YOUR* voice, *YOUR* expression, *YOUR* heart…there are OBVIOUSLY hundreds of people that are encouraged & inspired by you.
    i treasure you even though i may never meet you…and my boys think your boys are pretty cool too {Legos + Star Wars=friendship}
    xoxo elizabeth

  • Patti - I love love your blog. Please don’t ever change. Those poor people should keep ther comments to themselves.

  • Carla - Hi ashley, I know sooo many people have said everything I feel about your blog but I wanted to tell you again. I have only recently found your blog and have told many friends and famity about it!

    I love everything about your blog!!! I find it so uplifting and I get sooo excited when there is a new post ! I love that you stand frim in the things you are passionate about . I hope you are encouraged by all the comments and all the people who you have touched and encouraged with your blog…

    Merry Christmas !

  • Katie - Yikes! I never cease to be amazed at what kinds of awful things people will say when they don’t have to say them out loud. And, as a blogger, I’m all the more surprised when people take time out of their day to offer up what is freely given, especially when it’s given out of kindness.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time now. Obviously I’m not alone in that. And one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is because you don’t only write about one thing. I love that you write on such a variety of topics, especially since so many of them relate to my own life.

    Anyway, rock on.

  • Kristin - Ashley, I just want to say that I LOVE your voice, and the heart that comes through so clearly. Your blog is one of my very favorites, and it is such a delight to not only see your beautiful pictures and read about something you are doing with your lovely kiddos or a new craft project, but also to be witness to your adoption, and to see the transparency with which you live out your faith. You make me wish I still lived in OK and that we could be real life friends, and you make me want to make a difference in the world even more. Thank you – and don’t stop.

  • Jessica King - Ashley, I’ve read your blog for a long time, I honestly don’t even know how long, but long enough to see Firecracker and your other kiddos go from being babies to children. I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented, I’m terrible about that. I came for the photography and craftyness, but have stayed for you and your family. For the change in heart you’ve given me. I had thought for years that I didn’t want children, but through your blog God laid it on my heart to adopt one day. I doubt I would have been open to that thought at all if I hadn’t been exposed to your heart for children, either yours by blood, the ones God has designated for your family, and the ones you’ve opened your heart to otherwise. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I appreciate you being you, and being honest, and letting people hear your heart and see your family. <3

  • erin a. - Ashley Ann,
    I’ve been to your blog before, for a few decorating posts & crafting posts. But, I’ve never really followed along. I get tired of the blogs that are all gorgeousness & little heart. I am glad I found my way here today. I am so happy to hear your heart! I haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of these posts that get you negative feedback by a handful of folks.
    We are adopting, too. I can’t wait to hear more about yours. We are waiting to receive a referral for a toddler boy from Ethi*pia.
    I’m going to add you to my following list!

  • Jami - I absolutely agree with you. This is your outlet and you should be able to share your life. You are putting a positive message out, which is shy I don’t understand the negative comments. I wonder what the same emailers would say about a blog promoting completely negative or commercial things. Keep doing what your doing, as it does motivate others into thinking how they can help someone as well as how to be creative.

  • Jamie T - In my opinion your blog is fantastic! I read it because I enjoy your views on the topics you write about.I say keep on trucking because you are a awesome individual.

  • Tammia - Stay true to yourself. Most people appreciate an honest blog, and that’s what yours is. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it! Keep sharing…I can understand how this would be a downer, but don’t change a thing!

  • Katie Sellers - I can not believe the horrible things people will post. What happened to if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. I come from your camp, “if you don’t like what you see, stop looking.”
    Not to dwell on the negative, I just wanted to say I think you are awesome. You have such a beautiful heart and share it so openly with us everyday. Keep your voice loud! We love it!
    They say it takes 10 positive comments to balance just one negative–hopefully the 675 posts ahead of mine have done that for you today!!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • julie - Ashley, Please keep blogging. I am a christian stay-at-home mom that lives out of the country while my husband is doing a job with treacherous hours. I am always encouraged by your blog. ESPECIALLY, seeing the reconciliation of home making and raising children, but being globally minded and teaching our kids to think of others and do for others. I have rarely, if ever, seen these two aspects of life lived out so well in the same life. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and it encourages me every day. please don’t stop. Please keep going!!!!!!!!

  • chantelle - keep up just the way you are! you inspire so many just the way you are, there is no “just” about you…….you are a-mazing-please never stop blogging!

  • Leslie - I love your blog, everything about it. I love that you inspire others to be better people, and how you show us what is truly important in life.

  • Emily - Wow, nearly 700 comments. That should show you how loved you and your blog are. You are a wonderful person Ashley and you have such a wonderful heart for other people. Don’t change who you are just show the world what you can do!!! Have a fabulous and blessed Christmas.

  • Holly F - I love your blog just the way it is. I don’t know you but I love you & how you write. They can go read other blogs if they don’t like what you write. Sheesh!

  • Kingsley Moore - I often try to remind myself that people who are negative and hurtful, MUST be pretty miserable. I will say a prayer for this unhappy responder, but also that your heart be shielded from the ugliness of this world. It is often on display but we don’t have to digest it! Keep being yourself and pleasing God. God Bless! kingsley

  • Laura - I usually don’t comment but wanted you to know that I look forward to reading your blog every day! Please don’t stop!!! I’m staying at home with my kids and you inspire me to be better wife, mother and Christian woman. Thank you! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and praying you get more news of your little girl soon!

  • Carolyn - Ouch is right. People actually take the time to write and tell you what you should and shouldn’t post on your blog?!? That’s insane. Just keep being you…keep writing for you. There are many of us out there that appreciate your random blog posts. They are wonderful, and thank you for sharing them.

  • anh - I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and love it more and more each day. Why? Because you are you. I’m not religious, I don’t have kids, your home decor style is not my own, but your blog is amazing not because I agree with or like everything you do, but because you are you and you are putting it out there for people to read. Ignore the nasty comments because they are from people who are neither open minded or open hearted. I love to read about your stories whether it be your struggle with the adoption process or just how you find thanks and spirituality amongst the little things. People who want a blog to cater only to what they want to read about? I say that’s a first world problem. Keep going with your blog, it’s one of my favorites!

  • Samantha - Ashley – You just keep ON keepin’ on!! Those folks can GO! You are sharing your HEART – which is WHY the rest of us love you AND your blog. Your family, your home, your photography, the way you parent (or DON’T parent), your faith, your adoption process, your passions – make up WHO you are. Don’t change a thing. Please. There is an abundance of shallow out there – one-dimensional, run-of-the-mill people who are not courageous enough to BE themselves – to BE who God created them to be!! I congratulate you on your courage. Do not worry about the troublemakers. They will eventually figure it out. Unfortunately, they will miss so much in the meantime.
    Blessings!!

  • Jess - I’ve never commented here before, but like the MULTITUDE of those commenting today I felt I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy all aspects of your blog! I first started reading for the photography tips, but honestly I think I love the mommy posts, adoption posts even more, they make me smile. and your ability to open my eyes to all the ways I to can make a difference…keep being you!

  • Kelley - Ashley, I have only posted before on giveaway days. Mostly because I typically read from my phone g-reader and commenting isn’t easy to do. BUT- I LOVE your blog! I found it because of your fun craft ideas and photo tips… I stay because you are honest, real, encouraging, and full of FAITH. I learn from you and hope to be a mom like you one day. Thanks for sharing! Will pray for you and for the “meanies” to go away!

  • Joan - Goodness, you wouldn’t be you without your voice and you are all of your voice. So sorry people are so mean. If they don’t like your blog, don’t read it. Kind of like if you don’t like TV, turn it off. In the meantime, love your blog, all of it.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - dearest ashley, from a sister who completely understands and has very thin skin too. i love you dearly. you encourage me daily. blessed. blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. blessed.

  • Angie poston - oh Ashley. keep speaking, keep pouring out your life on here. You are encouraging so many people with your life… crafts, kids/adoption, and all. you are wonderful. keep writing. keep speaking truth. keep loving the way you do. And tell the ones who take time out of their day to spread hate to kiss it.

  • Jen Strange - Ashley, dearest, you keep blogging about whatever your heart leads you to blog about. EVERYTHING you blog about is a part of you, and THAT is what blogs are about. Your blog, your rules. Your photography is amazing, your insight into parenting is amazing, your crafts and decorating are loads of fun, and your commitment to social justice rocks my world. You have my deepest admiration.

    As for readers who think they can tell bloggers what to write about:
    1. Start your own blog if there’s something specific you want to see on the internet. When you don’t like a certain blog, don’t read it. Simple enough.
    2. Read this: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

    Ok, then. Merry Christmas, all.

    jen

  • Ruth - That is just plain crazy. Please keep writing about ALL the things that give you passion. Otherwise your blog would be boring. If people don’t like your blog, they should just stop reading. Seriously.

  • Trena - Well said! I am so saddened by the pettiness of people sometimes…breaks my heart really. But PLEASE keep being you! You do have a voice and you have challenged so many of us. God is using you…don’t let the “water bucket brigade” put out your fire…just keep on shinin’. God Bless…and have a Blessed Christmas!

  • Emily - Just echoing what the other almost 700 comments say – you write from the heart and that’s a huge part of what makes your blog enchanting and interesting to read. I look forward to reading it. As a mom, I also appreciate and feel bolstered when you assure us that life isn’t perfect and organized in your house either! If people have issues with specific posts or themes, it’s easy enough for them to skip over something or find another blog that’s more to their interests, and that is their responsibility rather than yours to change to fit their wants.

  • candace - where’s that wonder woman shirt? because i am pretty sure you should be wearing right now. :) keep up all of the wonderful work you are doing. maybe someday one of those embittered readers will have a change of heart and realize what you have been saying all along. may God soften their hearts to be as tender and thoughtful as yours!

  • Jessica - Jesus is glorified by your response Ashley! I thank Him for you and your blog! I’ve been reading for 2 years now. You have spurred me on in my own faith. Thank you for being sold out to the One who gave it all! As Jim Elliot once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

  • Pamela - Ashley, thank you for your voice and your opinion. I may not be a mother, or sew, or go to church weekly, but I do have a heart and consider myself a little crafty, so I click on your blog everyday. everyday. I read your words, look at your beautiful family, and I’m reminded that one person can make a difference. Whether that is by giving a gift of something handmade from the heart, or raising money for a water well, or showing how to capture beautiful moments on camera to treasure forever. Merry Christmas to you and your family and may 2012 be the year your family grows by one!

  • Stephanie - God Bless you sister! No worries about the complaints…you aren’t here to please ‘man’ only the Lord. :) People like that have too much time on their hands and are sadly insecure and jealous. You keep on keeping on!

    Blessings and Thank You!

    Stephanie

  • Megan - I read your blog every day, and it is such an encouragement to me! In fact, I tell my husband on a regular basis that I want to be you :) Your heart is truly revealed through this blog, and even though we are not quite ready yet-your blogs about your kids make me want to have my own-immediately! I love how God is using you through something you love. That’s totally how you know you are in His will! You’re an inspiration!

  • Chelsea - I don’t have kids and I’m not that great with a camera. I do love to do crafts but I can’t really sew either. I’m also a Christian, but despite what we do or don’t have in common… I love your blog!!! I enjoy reading it everyday. I enjoy your adorable children, they make me feel like my nieces and nephews are a little bit closer. I’m certain firecracker and my niece are long lost sisters they look so much alike! Of course it could also be the fact that they both seem to be so happy almost all of the time. I like you photo tips because I hope someday I can read them again and try them out, when I do get that camera. :) I want to have kids someday and love reading about the fun things you do with yours. I like that you share about every aspect of you life and not just what’s pretty or fashionable or popular. You’re real, that’s a very beautiful thing. Keep up the good blogging!

  • Michelle B. - Keep doing what you do – and don’t change a thing (other than when you want to – like the new blog design, awesome:P)! I only read a handful of blogs every day, and you are one of them. You have a permanent home on my favorites bar at the top of my page.
    Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  • erin a. - um, my comment totally wonky. I’ll try again when I get the chance!

  • Emily - I LOVE your blog :) Just sayin’. You’re real and that’s refreshing. Keep it up…there’s so many more of us that love your blog, just ignore the other ones :)

  • Sara M. - I don’t remember how i discovered your blog, but it was when your husband went to help with the earthquake in Haiti and you had your kids make those adorable crayon and notebook sets. I was moved to tears with how you were teaching your kids to love and care for others. I have followed your blog everyday since. I love checking each day to see what you might be sharing about. I love the variety that you share and your heart that is transparent. I think I am most thankful for the times when you model to your kids how to be the hands and feet of Jesus because they encourage and inspire me to do the same. I’m sorry someone used their words for evil. I hope my words have helped to build you up according to your needs, because I would be so sad if you stopped blogging or changed anything about your blog. Keep fighting the good fight!

  • fullertonregan - Wow! Um, I hope you have a boatload of time to read all these comments! :)

    You know, so often I’m so envious of bloggers like you. You have such a specific style, a clear voice, tons of followers… it’s something I aspire to. But when I read posts like that (and I’ve seen them on nearly every large-scale blog I read) it breaks my heart for the author and further emphasizes to me why I should never be a large-scale girl. I’d get WAY too mad and boy would I lash out.

    I like to write for me, and I find that as a reader I seek out writers who write the same way. Your blog name is YOUR name because it’s YOU. You are not a product; you’re a woman, a wife, a mother, a helluva photographer, a giver, funny, quirky, lovely. I’ve read you say you feel that you may protray a life of perfection – you don’t. I think you show a lovely aspect of your life, but I’ve never felt like you’ve been all, “Look at me and my fabulousness. Don’t you want to be like me? Well you can’t because I’m so much more fabulous than you.”

    You and I don’t share the same beliefs, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find your portrayal of your beliefs to be interesting. I dunno, if I feel like you’re talking too much about your spirituality then I’ll just move on, but I don’t honestly think I’ve ever felt that you’re prosthelyzing to me and I don’t recall ever not reading a post because you spoke about your beliefs.

    Sorry to babble. Your blog is lovely. Your family is beautiful. Your photography inspires me to click away on my DSLR. Have a very Merry Christmas and know that sometimes people are just odd. Use your voice girlfriend.

  • Abby - I just wanted to comment and say that I love your blog so much, and find so much inspiration here. Of course I love the photos and crafty things, but mostly I love that your heart is big, and you are actually doing something to help and love others! Keep on going!!!!!

  • Sarah T - Seriously?!?! I never realized bloggers get that type of commenting. That’s crazy. I know I’m just one of the many here, but I’d like to encourage you to continue to let your blog be your own blog. Don’t let those nasty comments bother you. People must have a weird sense of why people blog and what readers can expect and not expect. Weird. Yet, another example of technology/applications of technology being ahead of etiquette.

  • julia - Hi! I just started following your blog a few weeks ago. I wanted to know how much I appreciate what you write. I’m (attempting) to blog and catch myself worrying how much Christ to put in a design centered blog. But even saying it sounds, well, shallow! You are glorifying God and using your talents. Some people just won’t understand.

    Blessings this Christmas,
    Julia

  • Jenni - Keep up the awesome work, sister in Christ! I think God uses your blog to convict me and inspire me to get off my butt! For everynone hater there probably a hundred people like me who love all you say! God bless you!

  • Tasha M - Very well said! I am so glad you rise above the hateful comments and did not take the advice to separate the content into two blogs. I am especially inspired by your charity work. If I were in need, I would appreciate help. We need more awareness but more importantly we need more helping hands. In the end we will all stand before God. When you do, I feel He will call you faithful servant. Eternity matters more!

  • Cathy - Good for you! I enjoy your blog and love the depth of what you share, all of it. From the looks of it here so do many others. Keep writing for you and do your best to not let the naysayers into your head and heart.
    Happy Holidays!

    Cathy

  • Rebecca - My parents divorced when I was young and things were not always easy for me growing up. My mom suffers from mental illness and I constantly struggle to maintain a positive relationship with my parents. Not all of us have good role models in our lives. Not all of us have women in our lives who can teach us what it means to be good mother and a good wife and a good person. A whole person. I read your blog not because you talk about photography or your kids or the things that matter to you.. I read because you talk about all of it. The internet can be incredibly impersonal, but by putting it all out there is makes it easier to feel connected to you. And because of that, I look up to you. I want to be like you. I just turned 26 years old and am recently engaged, and I hope someday I can raise a family the way you are raising yours. Whether or not you know it, you are helping me become a better mother to my future children and a better wife to my soon to be husband. Pretty heavy stuff, I know. No pressure or anything. :) I just wanted you to know that your blog had made a difference in my life. And I think that trumps any nasty e-mail. Please continue to do what you do and thank you for being such an inspiration.

  • Haley - Thank you for staying true to who you are and who the Lord has created YOU to be. Thank you for caring for the fatherless; Thank you for caring about the things of this world that are broken and in desperate need of transformation through the power of the Gospel. We all NEED to hear your heart concerning these things, because quite frankly, I think that most of us most certainly don’t care enough…. especially those of us who as followers of Christ have been called to care and take action. You are an amazing, talented, and creative mom, wife, and most importantly, follower of Christ! Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us! Keep using that voice sister :)

  • Tristen - Ashley ~ your blog is one that I look forward to reading all the time. I get excited when, in my Google Reader, there is a “1″ next to your blog and I go right away to see what you’ve written about. I think it’s wonderful that you share so much and, for those of us who don’t expect bloggers to fall into neat little packages, we truly appreciate all of your different facets. Please don’t EVER change, and always use your voice. There are those of us who appreciate it all, even when our viewpoints might be a bit different. Your blog is wonderful, inspiring and moving, and I will continue to look forward to it every day! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • lauren - wow. amazing to me how entitled people are, and expect the world to change for them. if you don’t like this blog, don’t read it. that’s the only choice you have in the matter.

  • Colleen - Oh goodness! Those comments are crazy. Sometimes I just don’t understand people.

    But please be assured that there are kindred spirits everywhere who cheer you on and cheer on anyone who strives to be themselves whether it is in the blogging world or anywhere else for that matter.

    To thine own self be true.

    For the record, I love your multidimensional blogging style. It is real life after all.

    I hope your day gets better.

  • lauren - wow. it’s amazing to me how entitled people are and expect everyone else around them to change for them, rather than vice versa. if you don’t like this blog, don’t read it.

  • Michelle S - Reading your post really made me want to comment. I don’t comment all that often, but I look forward to each and everyone of your posts. I’m thankful you are staying true to you and your faith. Thank you for being so gut honest with all of us, even when it’s not required of you. You’re an inspiration to many and are a strong woman to be following your heart and mind to be so open with everyone. I too have a girl right about Firecracker’s age and their antics seem so similar. I often talk about it to my husband and he enjoys the stories too.
    Thank you for being you and letting us in to your world. Merry Christmas!

  • Angela - Keep on bloggin! I love every bit of your blog. And if I didn’t I have the choice to click that little X and make it all go away. No need to spread negativity!

  • Wendy - ((((HUGS))))

  • Rosalind - Don’t change a thing!

  • megan elle - Ashley

    Recently I decided to put my photography business on the shelf to more fully dedicate my life to my family. It has been difficult for me to let go of a outlet that I love and feel is a part of who I am. Because your blog is what it is and you are who you are and you share that example, I have felt like there is still so much good I can do and share. You have inspired me to seek out charitable opportunities and to reach outside of my circle. You have given value and voice to the women of society who choose family.

    Thank you for sharing your voice and giving of yourself to bless others.

    Megan

  • Kate - I don’t normally comment, but love reading your blog. Your honesty and openness about what’s going on in your family, and your trust in Jesus make it a pleasure to dip into your world. Please keep it up!

  • Mary-Beth - Ashley, I LOVE reading your blog because I never know what the post will be about. It’s fun to see new photos, craft ideas, whatever. I am so thankful you are not changing anything…BE ENCOURAGED! You are LOVED!

  • melany - I say good for you. I am inspired by your decision to stick to who you are and throw the rest aside. You really do have to be true to yourself. Keep up the good work and focus on the positive. I am sure that you probably get so much more positive feedback than you do negative :-)

  • Mindy Harris - woah. maybe i don’t want to “be famous” or have a “big blog” after all. i absolutely wear my heart on my sleeve and a “bummer” comment would just completely break my heart. i have only received a couple of negative comments and have been blogging 4 years, yet they still kinda bother me.
    your blog is on my must-read every day. i love your heart for orphans and your priority to raise your children in a Godly home, not for you to be sitting in front of the computer all the time. i can tell where your priorities are, and i respect you for that. i will always read your blog.
    and when i’m “famous” i’ll pay for an ad!
    love to you, sister in Christ. and merry Christmas! thank you for opening your heart to us readers.

  • Samantha - Your blog inspired me to begin my own. I love how random your posts can be and how you share the silliness with the seriousness.

  • jennie otanicar - Ashley,
    How brave of you! I love your blog it has been such and encouragement to me as a mom, a christian, a crafter and soon to be adoptive mom. Thank you for being brave and using your voice for good!
    Jennie

  • amy lenhart - what? people are crazy!!! avoid the crazy! you are doing nothing wrong.. keep up the good work ashley. you post so many positive uplifting and thought provoking posts.. you have a big heart and care about others.. don’t let the crazies change that!

  • Amy - Pretty sure you won’t make it this far down in the comments, but I’ll leave this thought just the same. It’s far better to upset someone who doesn’t get your motives or heart, than to upset your Savior who has given you that heart. He’s working through you. Press on with a smile. :)

  • Ashley Rae - My heart broke for you when I read those mean mean comments… know this… your blog is a BRIGHT spot in my day. I love love love all the many faces of your blog. My house is full of projects inspired by you and I get compliments every day on them. My faith is strengthened reading about your faith. It inspires me to be more bold in talking about my own walk with Christ. I am a young mommy of two and I am totally inspired by you to have a big crazy happy family and since my heart is for adoption I love hearing about your journey! Don’t ever stop just because immature people take out their anger on you and know that deep down they must be hurting about something… it is not fair to you sweet friend. You are loved!

  • hannah singer - thank you!
    praise jesus, for you and your voice. so encouraged.
    press on! merry christmas xo

  • Letia - Love your blog! Don’t change.

  • Lacey - I love your blog specifically for your voice and for what you share, so I’m so bummed someone (anyone) would make you second guess what you do here. Merry Christmas, to you and your wonderful family!

  • misti d. - im sorry that people feel like they have the right to be nasty. i makes me sad. you clearly have a big wonderful heart and i think people might be jealous and acting like they are in highschool. i love that you are honest. i love that you blog about what you want to for that day. after all, it is YOUR blog.
    peace, love and a happy holidays to your family.
    ~Jesus is the reason for the season

  • farmgirl - The person who took time out of their day to trash your beautiful blog is a very sad person indeed. I am sorry that someone as lovely as you had to be the recipient of her misdirected anger. I am a mom and new grandma and am inspired and uplifted by all aspects of your blog. Thank you for brightening my day, every day. God Bless you and your family.

  • Renae - I see you’ve gotten a bunch of comments already but I thought I’d chime in! Your blog has become my favorite, I’ve been reading for a few months now. I love all your posts and you are seriously super inspiring to me in so many aspects – crafty stuff, photography, future parenting ideas, etc, etc. I’m sorry to hear that anyone would feel it’s their place to tell you what to do with your blog, I don’t understand the negativity! Thanks for all you do! You are an inspiration, if only there were more people with your attitude :)

  • Marsha in OK - Ashley, I’m so sorry people make unkind comments on how you should run your blog. Don’t they realize it is YOUR blog by the grace of God? Keep doing what you are doing here! Praying they will see the truth you share; and praising God that you are sticking to His plan for you and your blog!!!

    Btw, a common friend told me I would LOVE your blog and your presentation at the Gathering. She was right! After all of these years I know she wouldn’t steer me wrong.

  • Maureen@Loving This Life - I love this! What you wrote here is inspiring and real and I loved it! Keep it up girl!

  • Julie - Beautifully said. I hope the chill bumps you just gave me outweigh some of the mean-spirited remarks of others. Don’t let anyone rob you of something that brings so much joy to your life. If someone doesn’t like a particular post they can certainly skip right over it or read another blog. I applaud you for standing your ground. Have a blessed Christmas!

  • Cristina C - I absolutely love your blog!!! I look forward to reading it everyday! You have such an amazing family, beautiful kids and you are so creative! Never stop doing what you love because you not only blog for yourself, but your blog has an impact on other people’s lives as well! Thank you!

  • Lindsey - Your blog is such a bright spot in my day! I look forward to reading it and i always know that I will be encouraged in some way. I am a passionate follow of Jesus, mom of a 3 year old and 1 year old, hope to adopt one day, and learning photography- you make me smile!!! keep it up!

  • Sherri - I read your blog every single day. It is the very first one I go to. Why? Because it is real. You are real. You share. You enlighten. You cherish. You give. You feel. You care. You inspire. Please continue to share your voice. I have a choice to read the blogs that I love. And I love yours.

  • Jenny B. - I once heard a pastor say that if you’re not facing any kind of persecution, then you’re right where the devil wants you. If you’re living for Jesus, people WILL oppose you. That’s not to say it shouldn’t make you sad (it IS sad), but it should also encourage you to keep doing good. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thes. 5:11.

  • C Roecker - God gave you and voice and many talents. How you use that voice and those talents is up to you. I personally think you are Aaaa-mazing!! You are such an inspiration!

    This is your space use it however you desire!

  • Carrie O - Well I happen to LOVE your blog and, even if I didn’t, you should keep on writing whatever you want. This is your space and I love coming here because you AREN’T pigeonholed into being one “kind” of blogger. The best blogs are those that people write because they want and everything in here seems to be a reflection of you. Keep it up and don’t let the squeaky wheel get to much oil :) Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!!

  • Julia A. - Ashley! Not only do you inspire in areas of design, pure crafty goodness, fun activities for the kiddos, and finding joy in the midst of crazy pain (your daughters hospital stay), you inspire me to continue looking injustice in the eye, even when it’s easier to turn away. You inspire me to tune in to the ache of my heart when I think of children whose voices go unheard. You inspire me to start our adoption process as soon as we’re able, and to dream endlessly of kissing the sweet face of our precious future child. The voice you’ve been given reaches farther than you know and inspires in deeper ways than you probably even realize. To the nay-sayers threatening “blog de-friending,” I say, “what you intended for harm, God intended for good… (Gen. 50:20)” What a great opportunity to really define what you’re doing here and realize and confirm that this, is you. :)

  • kae - hi ashley! i rarely ever comment but i read your blog on a daily basis. glad that you pointed out that the good always outweighs the bad cause your (real!) readers will take those rude comments away!i love your blog for all those reasons…photography, family, your house, etc! so don’t feel so down. i love your voice! have a merry christmas to you and your family!

  • Vanessa McElreath - Do Not Change A Thing!!! There are plenty of other places/blogs that people can read if they want to keep their eyes closed to the pain in this world…you are doing us a service by not being one of them. Thank you!!!

  • Tune - When I read your post, I thought of my own experience with my blog. I started a personal blog many years ago – random as it was, it was mine. Then it went under some scrutiny so I deleted it. After much thought, I started it up again…again, some had issues about the content or had their feelings hurt because they didn’t have the same views as I did. I got so frustrated because I wasn’t able to be expressive or creative in what I wrote or posted in fear that someone would take offense to it in some way. During the process, I’ve made some online friends because they happened to randomly find my blog. Then about 2 years ago, I decided to just make it private and only invite those that knew me. Even though I do say what is on my mind, I do feel a bit restricted because it is not as public as I would like. It’s nice to be able to inspire others, give insight to my life that may help others in whatever way they find, or just meet some great online people with the same interests. I wish I could be as open, creative, and expressive as you are on your blog. It is YOUR blog…and if people don’t want to read whatever it is that they don’t like…well, then they shouldn’t read it. Move on and be done with it. I don’t know why anyone needs to come on such a forum and gripe, complain, or be rude. There are a million blogs out there…choose to read a different one!! Anyway, I didn’t mean to leave this long of a comment, but I wanted to say…keep on keeping on!! Be you, say what you want, inspire others, share your creative side, show us your adorable kids, your different perspectives with your camera, and your life. I don’t have thick skin either…so easier said than done…but don’t let the negativity get to you. Keep on inspiring us!

  • Ruth - Like clearly many others I felt compelled to click through from google reader and leave a comment today. It makes me sad to hear that there are such a number of people who feel they have a need to send mean unnecessary comments around the internet. I don’t claim to read every post of your blog that you read. I peruse my google reader every few days and read what catches my eye at the time and then scroll on. Sometimes I read every word of your story about applying for adoption of creating a gorgeous tree breakfast surprise that doesnt go to plan, sometimes I dont happen to read the post you have put. But I feel that you share your attempt, your striving for being a better mother and a better person and someone who tries to make a difference. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t, sometimes you inspire me to try harder to be better too in something I was struggling with and feel tired about, and I hop up from my computer invigorated and inspired.
    I wanted you to know that for any mean comment you have many many quietly inspired readers who lurk and don’t often comment. People who accept gratefully and silently what you offer in your blog.
    I’m not sure if this has ended up saying what I was wanting to communicate but in a nutshell, if you listen hard you will hear a quiet cheer floating on the wind all the way from australia, and echoed by your readers elsewhere, cheering you on to ignore mean and hurtful comments who are often trying to shout at you only to quiet a noise inside themselves. Your blog is great just the way it is.
    Though if you have any tips about how to get my 2 year to pose for me the way firecracker does in your beautiful photos I would be grateful!

  • Marie-claire - Good on you! I love reading your blog it’s been a source of inspiration for many things, not just craft & I appreciate that you put the effort into making this site such a wonderful place to visit. Can’t wait to see how your adoption pans out, the journey so far has been exciting. It just makes sense to me “that if u don’t like it just stop reading” but I guess some people have learnt to use their voice differently. You model the right stuff. Thanks :)

  • chris - love your blog…love your heart. i am always encouraged in one way or another after checking in here. thanks for shaing ALL that you do!!:)

  • Chris - love you blog, love your heart. i am always encouraged when i check in here. thanks for sharing ALL that you do!!

  • Michelle - As I scroll down to leave a comment, I realize there are 100s of words of support you’ve already read. Even so, I feel obliged to let you know that I started following your blog because I was so moved by your voice. This is YOUR story, this blog, and I feel privileged that you let the world in, that you share your life’s journey with us, with me! Thank you.

  • Alisa - The reality is.. For every complainer there are hundreds who love what you do. You inspire me on so many levels, as a mother, a crafter, my love of photography, my hope that the world can be a better place if we try.. so much you do inspired. Thankyou for being you, thankyou for sharing, MERRY CHRISTMAS

  • Gayle - Please don’t change what you write. I love reading your blog. Even though my life circumstances are very different than yours I love hearing about your life and it always encourages me in some way. Merry Christmas!

  • jdzjane - I can understand how getting hurtful comments/emails can be well hurtful. I love your blog. I love reading about your kiddos – it helps me feel less crazy seeing the things your boys do – ah boys – never a dull moment. I love the heart that you have for the world. Kinda makes me open my eyes a little more to the world around. I say let your voice be heard – don’t care what they think. Did Jesus care what people thought? Or did He put them in their place with love and compassion? Did He let His voice be heard?

  • Amanda - I just found your blog tonight and quite frankly, I love it! It’s a blog, YOUR blog and you can write whatever YOU want in it… you know, because YOU OWN IT! =] I especially love the diy section and I love hearing about your projects and I enjoy seeing the way your home is decorated. =]

  • Julia Quickfall - Ashley, I absolutely LOVE your blog. Yes there are some posts I like more than others, but it would be the same on any blog I visit. I’ve deleted a lot of blogs from my list (as they can become too much of a distraction), but yours is the only one that has stuck. Here is South Africa there are a whole bunch of my friends who read your blog each day. We all share in the joy of parenthood, friendship, foster care and crafts. I think you have far more readers who love all the various facets of your blog than those who don’t. Keep it just the way it is:)

  • Jo - Ashley, I have been following your blog for about a year now, and I love it. Every single post. And it has always been clear to me that your blog is about recording and sharing certain parts of your life, not about a particular topic or category. Frankly, I think that’s what keeps it so interesting to read.
    Some days I get to share what your little ones are up to, and I can feel the love and joy you have in them. Other days, you challenge me to see the world in a different way, and to be so grateful for what I have. And then other days you inspire me to make my own corner of the world a more beautiful place.
    I am also a Christian, and so maybe I am not very objective, but I think the way you express your faith is encouraging, gentle and loving. And as you said, if someone doesn’t enjoy what you write, they can simply not read it. I don’t quite understand what would cause someone to write negative comments to you about your blog. As the old saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, then read a different blog.
    I am so glad you have the courage and conviction to keep blogging. You make the web a nicer place. Thank you.

  • Linda - Ashley, you took that with so much grace. I really don’t think I could have responded in the same polite way. I love your blog. It’s like a ray of sunshine. Keep on shining!

  • K - It wasn’t all that long ago that you wrote a post about showing your real self (something about visible laundry) and the pressure to show who you truly are. So folks want to see the real, authentic you, just so long as you don’t share any real beliefs or real thoughts or anything that you might really be passionate about. Brilliant.
    You are fantastic and kind-hearted–much more gentle with the unkind crowd than they deserve. Good for you. And keep it up–there are plenty of us who love it here and our only complaint is that you don’t live next door.

  • Carrie Ryan - I know you have said that you read through all your comments; what a wonderful breath of fresh air this will be! Your blog is everything it should be, it’s real and all you and I think most people can honestly respect that. I love how real you are! You are inspiring. You are talented and gifted in so many ways and the blessings that pour into and through your home are undoubtedly from the Lord and we can all see that. Keep this blog exactly how it is! Don’t change a thing, except maybe a new little face in the coming months!

  • Barbara G - Ashley, I really love your blog the way it is – always changing, always telling different stories.
    I think there is no blog I read on such a regular basis – BECAUSE it is not “only” a crafting blog (I love crafting blogs) – BEACUSE it is not “only” a photography blog (I love photography) – I’m not a mom myself yet, so I wouldn’t read a parenting blog anyway, but I really enjoy reading your stories.
    Thank you for sharing so much – I’m looking forward to every new post.

  • nicole - Thank you for the wide variety of topics you post. I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for not letting negative feedback shape how YOU blog. It’s yours. It’s your heart to the world. Thank you even for keeping your children’s names private. I love that about your blog and I greatly respect you for doing that. (I’m not saying that others who share are wrong…. :))
    I’ll continue to enjoy reading as long as you continue posting.

  • Katrina - Wow. I can’t believe people can be do mean about another persons blog. After a it is just that, YOUR BLOG! The beauty about blogs is that there is plenty of them and if you don’t like them, nobody is holding you down making you read them…. I think people can be so insensitive. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I personally love reading your blog – my favourite I fact. I have three boys (12,7,7) and often get a good chuckle out of your boys antics. I totally get the star wars thing etc. I have some really bad days parenting and I go on to your blog to get a refreshing perspective – to view things in a different light. I am relate to you. I a very creative. My mind is always racing. I get that when the need to create hits it’s at the most inappropriate time….but it’s like an itch. An eventually you cannot ignore the itch anymore!! Don’t change YOU, because that would change my day!!! Merry Christmas Ashley from an Aussie summer.

  • Alex - I’m from Greece!I like the way way you’re mom ,wife, passionate… !!!
    Last night I saw you and your family in my dreams. You were here in Greece and I was very happy because I admire you.You were pregnant and I was thinking “Wow! She is adorable.Has 4 kids ,wait for another and she adopt…”. When I woke up, i don’t know why but i was smiling and feeling happy… I thought “Something new is coming” :-) ?’m not feeling good to communicate in english(don’t know very well) but when I saw this post today i decided to dare…
    THANK YOU! STAY AS YOU ARE!

  • Angela K. - Dear Ashley, I have shamelessly stalked your blog for months and months and never left a comment before. But today I just wanted you to know that I truly believe our Father is SO PLEASED with what you are doing here! Sharing your heart and the gifts He’s given you, your passions and the things that He is passionate about. I come here specifically because I love how you share all these different elements that make up our lives…and if you were to get rid of any of them would be such a loss to all your readers. I am constantly inspired, encouraged and challenged when I come and visit here and I hope you don’t change a thing!! Thanks for being just who He made you to be – and giving us a little peek into your world. You are changing hearts. xo

  • Lauren H - Amen. Ultimately, you have an audience of One. If someone doesn’t like what your blog says they can find another blog out there solely with craft tips, etc. You are being who you are and your blog is your story. There are enough bloggers out there just trying to please everyone and write what people want to hear and not the truth about themselves. Keep being yourself and pleasing the One…the rest is just life. :)

  • Melissa w - you have a LIFE blog… those are my favorite kind. It’s all yours and we wouldn’t keep coming back if we didn’t love it. You are fascinating and genuine. Keep up the great work.

  • Jelena - I was thinking about posting this for a while now and I hope that my opinioon is not going to get deleted.
    I read your blog on a regular basis and while I am not interested in all the topics you post on (one of them being religious one) I don’t expect that you change what you write, since it is your blog after all. I read it because of “pretty pictures” and good ideas you have as a normal person leading a normal life.

    I also know how important it can be for writers to have positive feedback and how much anything negative hurts. That said, I feel that you deleting negative comments you receive is not really neccesary since it represents part of your readers. I am following your blog for a long time now and I find it that I am a bit less attracted to it every time I read your comment section which is full only of devotion and praise to you in one sided opinions. I don’t crave negativity, but I just find it very unrealistic. You have a big following and that is proof of the quality of this blog, why censor ocassional negative opinion then?

  • Violeta S. - Wow! This is hillarious! I can’t believe someone wrote those things to you! Blogging is always personal and when you do it well it is different than anyone else’s blogging. You are a very interesting and unique person! I wish you and your sweet family a Chrismas full of wonders and happiness and may the new 2012 year bring you your newest little one!

  • Christina - <3 Your heart shines bright with the light of Christ. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

  • Katie Hanson - I have never commented on your blog before, been following it for a few months and the thing I like about the blogs I follow daily is that they are not specific to just one thing. You, like all of us, are passionate about many different things and our craftiness is not just in creating stuff, it is in creating us. You share that with us, you share yourself, your gifts and your life, and I thank you. Sometimes we will not have all the same passions, you get that and so do I, that is what makes us different. What it is meant to do is to open our eyes to something else someone does. It would be like telling your friend that I don’t like hearing about your kids, can you just talk about your photography tips to me. Well, I have a feeling you would value that friendship a little differently. We are WHOLE people and you can express your WHOLE self, I mean it is your blog. Do what you want, that was one rude person out of your thousands of followers and probably thousands more that just visit you blog. It is so hard to not focus on the negative, but if anyone can get past it, I bet you can =)

  • Keryn Egan - Of all the blogs I read, and there are many, yours has by far the clearest, truest voice. Take those comments for what they are – somebody trying to slug off their own despair onto you, and remember that while misery loves company, joy will always attract more joy.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • DeAnne - If I don’t like your blog, I would simply not read it. Ridiculous to think otherwise. For me personally, I love your blogging! I LOVE your photos and the transparency you provide by allowing others into your life. Keep it up! And don’t let others tell you different. Merry Christmas to you & your beautiful family.

  • Sue Symens - Good morning! Hope today it a brite beautiful day with those great kids that make me smile when I get the chance to share a little of your life with you. We all choose to look at a blog. You do not make us. She need to be reminded that if you can’t say something nice…She also needs to know that if she had slipped away you would never have known. Maybe she needs to get over herself. Please don’t change a thing. You are a bright spot in many peoples day! Thanks for sharing and have a very Merry CHRISTmas!

  • Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids - What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Merry Christmas!

  • april - i am in shock that someone would write those things…if you don’t connect with a post, don’t read it! simple as that. it’s your blog and you can write whatever your heart desires on it. period.

  • Mallory - Even if you don’t read my comment (OMG you have so many!) I want my voice to he heard, too. I LOVE your blog. And I REALLY appreciate all of the personality you put into every post. It’s YOU, and it’s beautiful. Your posts are full of inspiration. I seriously doubt a rude comment here and there will ever bring you down. KEEP DOING WHAT YOUR DOING. I check your blog almost everyday!

  • bethany_may - Ashley- As seen in all the comments previously written, so many of us love your blog just the way it is. Although I’ve barely met you, I feel like I am somehow a part of your world. I have been challenged to be a better friend, mom, wife and all around person by reading your blog. I love being constantly reminded to live each day to the fullest and to enjoy my baby while she is still small. Your SnapShot class has helped me to capture moments that I would have otherwise missed with pictures that are the essence of my family. Your heart for the lost, hurting and lonely has encouraged me to continue to dream of adoption even when those around me don’t understand it’s life changing powers. Thank you for not compromising who you are and the gift God has given you to touch lives you will never know through your words and photos.

  • Heather Miller - I don’t usually do much commenting on blogs, but I feel really inclined to do it now, even though you already have a thousand comments of support. I am a recent follower of your blog but I have really enjoyed it so far. It is true that you are inspiring and funny and so enjoyable to read about! However, I think that is totally beside the point…this is your blog and you should be able to blog about ANYTHING your little heart desires (which coincidentally is fantastic stuff!)! I say blog on, my friend, blog on! This is your life and your story…share as you wish!

  • Heather - I’m with you! Don’t change a thing!
    Merry Christmas!

  • Carla - You have a voice and I thank you for using it! I enjoy the variety of your blog which is just one of the reasons I continue to visit it! We don’t personally know each other and yet we are connected in Christ. As Christians, are we not supposed to bear one another’s burdens, share in their triumphs and joys, encourage one another? You go girl! Merry Christmas & God’s Richest Blessings on you & your family!

  • jen furry - ashley, i love, love your blog and am a believer that where there is a God-fearing christian girl who is helping and loving the fatherless…there to will be satan in all his glory…he is alive and real and i think you have handle this in a way that is pleasing to the Lord and i am praying for you! can’t wait to hear your adoption story as i am praying for the Lord’s direction in adoption as well!

  • Stephanie - I am a huge fan of your blog!! I just happened to stumble upon it one day & have been an avid reader since. I wouldn’t change a thing. Like so many others have said if someone doesn’t like everything you write about they can skip over what they don’t want to read or find something else to read. Hope you & your family have a very Merry Christmas!!

  • marci - ALL of the things you post are what make your blog great! I’m sitting here thinking how miserable the writer of those comments must be…I don’t think there’s any way a person can treat someone else that way & be happy about who they are…sad, really. I LOVE your blog & your view points on life!

  • Angie DeWitt - Well said. Love your blog. Keep doing what you are doing :)

  • julieta - don´t change a thing. You are an amazing person. I learned a lot reading your blog. Your words changed the way i used to feel about many important things. YOu made me think about adoption, about parenthood, about teaching with actions and not just words, about the goodness and about God in a way that I never thought before. I am so thankful to you! i know you and i are in diferents countries, live diferent lives… but i really want to thank you for been there. mery christmas for you and your family.
    again sorry for my english… i am julieta from Argentina.

  • Katie - People are crazy, I tell you! You have a right to post whatever you want, and if others don’t like it….there are a million other blogs they can read.

    I love the fact that you cover a variety of topics.
    I love the fact that you make me stop and think about choices I make regarding my children.
    I really love the fact that sometimes you make me stop and relflect the world outside my own–the world we busy mothers often forget because we’re so consumed raising our own children.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. God Bless!

  • Bree K - God has given you a special gift to use this blog. I pray you continue to use it. Opposition is good. It means that Satan doesn’t like what you are doing. So, let him not like it. Our God is greater and He cares for the voiceless and He WILL use someone’s voice to cry out for them. I thank the Lord that you are willing. I am praying for you Ashley.

  • Amy T. - Thank you so much for speaking from your heart and sharing the “hurt” even though I’m sure it hurt worse to post it. Those very ugly people probably scream for equality and justice and the right for free speech yet they attempt to censor yours. You just keep on writing from your heart, sharing your joys and sorrows, your faith, your photos and tips, your family because you have quite a following of people who find joy in it, me included!

  • Veronica - I have been visiting your blog for about a year now and love it. I’m so sorry to hear about the comments some have made. Even though I have never met you, it is evident that you are a Godly woman, a fun mommy, an awesome photographer, and an artist. You inspire and encourage many. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us!

  • KJ@letsgoflyakite - So well said. I visit your blog because I love your voice. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Madelyn - well, some people are mean and that is never going to change.
    and if they didn’t say mean things to you, they’d be probably saying (and perhaps are) to others… it’s a shame really.

    I hope you continue to blog for as long as it brings you joy.
    I enjoy reading along…
    so, thank you and Merry Christmas!

  • Heather M. - Ashley, I love your blog. I love hearing your voice and I love that you use your voice for good. Thanks for all the inspiration but also for being real. Merry Christmas!

  • Annie Page - Girl -keep your voice. In the words of my 90 year old grandmother – screw ‘em. :o) Ps. I LOVE that poster – I totally pinned it on Pintrest – might be my next kitchen poster. Have a wonderful holiday and keep on, keeping on.

  • Heather - Keep your voice. Don’t be silenced by someone who could choose to stop reading your blog rather than you choosing to stop writing about things you feel passionate about. Remind yourself about all those who read your blog for the very reason that it is about all aspects of your life that you feel passionate about, those people love your blog.
    Have a wonderful festive season.

  • Kelli Rippee - I agree! A blog is good because of the whole of the person writing it, not because of the one peice that is shiney and perfect they allow the world to see. Our imperfections make us human and sharing all the sides of yourself allows connections with so many more people. I’m sorry you were hurt and struggled through the harshness of anothers voice. I’m incredibly proud of you for coming out on the other side still in tact, clinging to the King and his values. May you forever allow his healthing balm to keep you open to all he has for you!

  • Yelena - Ashley,

    It breaks my heart that people would selfishly criticize the content that you choose to put on your blog. It’s your blog, and you have the freedom to write about anything you want to write! Go for it girl. I love your blog, just the way it is. And I love that you stand up so firmly for your beliefs!

    Thanks for being such a beautiful inspiration as a photographer, a mother, a crafter, a Christian, and so much more :)

  • Ti Madame - To this post, the ones before it and the ones to come I say Amen!.

  • Rachel - Ashley, Amen sister! Please please dont let those people discourage you! This blog is about you and the things that you love – be proud! Your blog has been a blessing.. every single post! Dont leave a thing out that you dont want to! Keep it up :)

  • Kara D. - oh goodness! well, I am of two minds when it comes to this, I hope that is ok.
    first, I LOVE your blog, your perspective, your voice. it makes me mad that there are mean, hurtful people who leave mean, hurtful comments because I think your blog rocks the house!!
    however, i DID have an experience a year or so ago where I clicked over to a photography blog and was really enjoying some beautiful and inspiring pictures, but was really turned off by the photographer’s personality. he came across as very arrogant, prideful, used a lot of profanity (way more than I think is necessary!) and had some very politically charged statements. being non-confrontational, I just clicked away and never visited his site again. BUT I did wish I could send him a (respectful) note, telling him exactly what I just told you.. that I loved his work but his words turned me off. and while it boggles my mind why anyone would be turned off by your words… which I think are lovely and inspiring!… if I wanted to say something to that blogger, it seems hypocritical to say that others shouldn’t be able to (respectfully) do the same. does that make sense?
    that said, I hope you keep blogging for a long time. yours is one of my very favorites! you have a beautiful soul miss ashley!

  • Zoe - Hi Ashley!
    I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and since then I’ve totally fallen in love with it. So for me to come to here and to seethe email that that person sent you broke my heart. I mean; you inspire me everday. You’re my go-to blog! I spend hours on your blog. You make me want to be a better person. I think people who have bad things to say should just not say them at all. Like everone has said, if you dont like the blog, you just dont read it! I dont understand some people. You keep on doing what you love!

    -Zoe

  • Kina - Dude, your blog is the best one I know of. I can’t believe anyone would have nothing better to do than send an negative comment to you about how you should run your blog. I think suggestions are great, but come on! I love reading all you write!

  • Sarah - WHAT?? I never dreamt that this blog was any kind of controversial?? People are so rude and crazy and it really sucks that anybody would have the nerve to say something like that. I love your blog. Your decorating. Everything you post. If I didn’t like something your wrote, I would just skip reading the post. People are weird. You are awesome. Don’t change anything.

  • Kristin S - Ashley, please, please, please don’t change a thing about your blog content-wise. I look forward to each and every post. I love that you are real and normal and honest. Keep it up.

    God is glorified and there is no greater aspiration.

  • Heather Boersma - Matthew 5:10-12

    “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.”

    By this definition you are totally blessed. Thanks for speaking out boldly.

  • Brooke - Well, maybe this will make you laugh….
    Ia am the opposite of those mean people. My husband knows about Ashley ann, he has looked at your churches’ website, he has even considered emailing your husband bc he will be starting a new job w. The same title as chris.
    Worse yet, when I am shopping, I think of your adorable house. When I am crafting, I often use your inspiration or tutorials, when I am doing photo shoots, I am inspired by you. When I look at my son, I think that it must be wild to have three of them..
    Are you creeped out yet? My friend Rebecca, who also loves your blog, and I talk about you like you are a girl from small group, just a normal friend. Mi have been proud this year to see you giving a voice to things your heart hurts for.
    She even gave me a (b) journal like your (a) one and as I opened it said,”do you recognize this”. Immediately I told her it was from your blog.
    So there. ;). Sharing your life, and living an authentic life of faith means you face persecution. But you choose to face it because Jesus is worth it. His people are worth it.
    This is why I DO read your blog, and always will!.

  • Sara B. - Your blog is a true reflection of your heart & it’s beautiful! Keep using the gifts God has given you! Merry Christmas!

  • April - Sweet Ashley….you ROCK in a million ways. Hugs to you !!

  • Laura P - You are amazing just the way you are. And based on the number of people who took the time to comment, I think we are by far the majority!

  • lindsey - oh ashley! wow. I would never in a million years would have guessed that someone would EVER write you these types of things! For ALL of the reason they were complaining about – I LOVE THIS BLOG! And I am amazed that these people would have the audacity to write these things knowing it’s a blog and that you have never categorized it as anything specific. I want you to know that reading your blog is always part of my morning routine and I always look forward to whatever random thing you post – it’s always a welcomed surprise! Be encouraged that you and your awesome heart of randomness is very much loved!!

  • Mariana - Ashley, dear… you have an incredible number of fans here in Brazil. Don’t you dare change a thing in this wonderful blog of yours. Kisses for all of you!

  • Kristen - Rise above. If you just change the life of one person, you have made a difference. I have learned that no matter how hard you try you will never please everyone. Do what makes your heart happy. I truly enjoy your blog. EVERYTHING about it. In my eyes you are “Super Mom!”

  • The Twentieth Saturday Linky Love | J Bryant Writes - [...] I Have a Voice by Ashley Campbell. When you write a blog, people tend to have opinions on what you write. They want funny, not serious. Or they don’t want to hear about your faith. Ashley reminds us that we shouldn’t let others change our voice. Share what is important to you. [...]

  • erin leigh - preach it sister! way to stay true to yourself and yoru voice. Without your voice i seriously wouldnt want to read. gorious inspiring post. xo,e

  • Kim Howell - I can’t believe what I just read on this post. I can’t believe that people would say/write that to you about your personal blog. I love reading your posts. Yours is the only blog I read every day. This week I got a little behind with the craziness of Christmas happening in my house. I have always loved reading about your family, your projects, your randomness. My husband and I just adopted our sweet 3 month old baby girl and now I enjoy reading about your adoption since it’s so near and dear to my heart. I hope you are encouraged that there are many people that love reading this. Others who don’t enjoy it should click their mouse elsewhere… it’s not hard. Praying for your family today and tomorrow. I know what it feels like to think someone is missing and you can’t feel them, touch them, hold them, or know what their sweet little face even looks like. Merry Christmas.

  • katie - i’m sure everyone already said enough.
    i’ll chime in though that you are loved. deeper and wider than any comment pool. warmer and safer than even an embrace from the ones you love best.

    but you know this already.
    thanks for your honestly and your mishmash blog.

  • Lisa - You rock.

  • Karen White - Ashley, just wanted to echo the encouraging thoughts above. It’s interesting that even blog comments/emails can give us a glimpse into the true hearts of people in this world. I am always encouraged by your posts and they help inspire me to become more bold as someone trying to reflect Christ’s love to others. Keep up the good work!

  • Stoich91 - I’m not sure if you need the 800-odd-something-th person to tell you this, but heck yeah, your blog rocks. We wouldn’t be reading it if we didn’t think so. Rock on, sistah!

  • Sako - Keep writing!! I randomly found your blog and it is always a bright spot of sunshine in my day. I love that you write about your faith, about your adoption journey, your crafts/photography – because it is YOU!! It takes courage to put your life on the internet for everybody to read and I applaud you for it. As a sister in Christ, I am esp. encouraged by your servant heart and the way you use your talent/time/gifts for His glory. You go girl.

  • Candice - Keep blogging just the way you are because who you are makes me want to be better a better me. thank you for lovingly sharing your life, love and family.

  • Amelia - people don’t have to read your blog if they don’t like it – as for me, I LOVE your blog and check it almost everyday! you are inspiring :) keep it up :)

  • Kelly Clarke - This blog entry reminded of why I check your blog weekly… you are a beautiful, honest and wonderful person and I’m grateful that you allow me to read glimpes of your day, thoughts, passion, etc. Thanks for continuing to be who you are and not changing due to the pressure to please those that do no get what drives you Ashley…

  • Summer Crosbie - I love this. You are so encouraging and an inspiration. I feel the same way, if you don’t like a blog… move on. No need for mean words.

    I want to thank you for sharing your life and your heart. You are real and for that, so many of us enjoy reading your blog everyday.

  • Amanda - Ashley ~ I started following your blog when firecracker was in the hospital, and I think your kids are adorable, your crafts are precious, and you seem so kind. Keep doing exactly what you’re doing, and Merry Christmas. ~Amanda

  • twirling betty - I just wanted to (belatedly – sorry) add *my* voice to this torrent of support and love. I adore your blog for its diversity; for its honesty, for its fab crafty ideas and for the engaging, human and amusing way you write your posts. Then there are the photos…well, we all know just how beautiful the photos are. I love the thought you put into everything. Because of that thought, every post feels like a little gift: you either give a beautiful photo, or an insight into how you’ve struggled or coped with something (so helping anyone else going through the same), a crafty DIY, a reminder to focus on the mundane, a re-affirmation of the good stuff in life (lovely husbands, grassy backyards, Tinkles Poopsalot) or just a giggle. So while it is a place for your to record your stuf, you do it in a way that lets us share in your stuff (and wonderful stuff it is) insuch an enriching way. I am grateful for your blog and feel privileged to get to read it. Of course yukky comments will hurt – alot – but if you didn’t have the thin skin, empathy and general good-heartedness that you do – you wouldn’t be you – and then we might not all enjoy it half as much!
    Wishing you, Chris and all your babes – the ones with you and the one nearly with you – a truly merry Christmas. xxx

  • Mindy - Great blog Ashley! I also began following you when Firecracker was in the hospital. Please change NOTHING about what you say or do on your blog. It is yours. It is who YOU are. If someone has issues, then they need to either a) stop reading and following yours or b)Start up their own and see how difficult and truly time consuming it can b, then MAYBE, just MAYBE they will keep negative comments to themselves and fill your comment page with praise. I look forward to your daily entries.

  • Sarah - My friend and I call you our best friend. We don’t know you and you don’t know us, but we identify with you in so many ways (like having wild and crazy kids, loving Jesus, being crafty, loving photography, caring about social justice issues, and I’ve also adopted.) So when my friend asked if I read our best friends blog this week and told me about this post we were both so upset that people can be so dumb. I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love that you share your life with strangers. Keep being you because you are definitely blessing people!

  • Tiffany M - I love your blog. Every part of it! Keep doing what you love and writing about it here!

  • Alex - Good for you! Your blog is your own and anyone reading it is someone choosing to step into your world for a moment. If they don’t like it, they should choose to leave! I read your blog because I enjoy your thoughts, pictures, crafts, stories, et. al. It’s a lovely world to see. Good luck to you!

  • Robyn - Ashley… girl, you just keep on writing whatever the Lord lays on your heart. I can’t tell you how much our blog has blessed me. You are creative- you inspire some of the crafts I do. You are a Christian- I love that I have a sister in the Lord who loves to craft and does that for the glory of the Lord (and not for man’s). You are mother- I’m not one yet, but by reading your blog I have learned several things (and ways) that I want to do with my kids. You are adopting- The Lord has put adoption on my heart. I am praying for you and your family. Keep doing what you do! You’re great at it and the Lord is using you to bless so many people.

  • V Smith - I love your blog exactly the way it is. Please don’t change or lose your way. I find inspiration from your blog, honestly, to live a happier life and to enjoy things. I appreciate how open you are about sharing your family and your life. I’m sorry to be reminded that there are mean, disgruntled people that feel like they need to say mean things to people. I agree with you fully – they just need to go read a different blog.

  • jade - I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! so happy that i found it, it inspires me, encourages me, excites me, and gives me joy!!! i love the randomness of it all, please don’t change it at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love that you love your children so much, i love that you are adopting, i love that it all brings a smile to my face. Without even knowing you i can sense that you are a true women of God, GOD BLESS YOU IN ALL THAT YOU DO!!! and may the Lord continue to shine his face upon you and your family. Stay true to who you are always!!!!! Remember we don’t need to conform to who people want us to be and we only ever need to please our Lord Jesus :)
    Merry Christmas

  • Elizabeth K - I am not a mother but I love reading about your children and home life. I’m not a photographer but learning new things is important to me and I have always been interested in photography. I am a Christian but struggle with my faith and you inspire me. This is your blog about your life and I’m so glad that you are not letting negative people dictate your content. Reading a blog is not a chore. No one has their fingers glued to the mouse, eyeballs unable to look away. If your post that day does not interest them why can’t they just click away?

  • Von - Ashley, not sure what I can add to this…846 comments! That has to tell you something :) But I do want to add my voice to all these lovely people to affirm that YOUR voice is important and I’m so glad you know it. Your voice makes me laugh, tear up, wonder, and wince in recognition of shared parenting struggles. Sometimes I even rush off to get out the glue gun before I remember I don’t do craft.
    Your voice cannot be replaced, just as none of ours can, and you use it SO well!! You say what’s on your heart without being judgmental or dreary. Without being curmudgeonly or trite. I respect the heck out of you for how you present this slice of your life and look forward to many years of visiting Under the Sycamore.

  • Emma Jo - All the reasons that they cited against your blog are all the reasons that I love it.
    I love that you cover all aspects of your life. I love that you cherish the little things in your life. I wish I had more “little things” recorded from when I was little. Your children will cherish all of the memories that you’ve made and recorded together.

    Don’t let them get you down. :)

  • Kerry - Thank you for this post! I also have a blog that doesn’t fit into the blog box. I have it because I am a workaholic mother of four that enjoys life to the fullest and wants to share that with others. It took me two years to go live with my blog for fear of such comments. I am so happy that I have found you and look forward to getting to know you and your beautiful and ever growing family. God bless, Kerry

  • Ada in Coastal Cali - I am glad you found a place to address this-not just on your blog, but in your heart.
    words hurt! I think someone needs a subtle reminder, blogs aren’t mandatory!
    the name on my address bar says YOUR NAME-duh, not their name.
    Hope it feels good & maybe even erases little of the sting of their hurt to see so many comments…your well loved, admired & followed.
    Too bad there’s not a block list like FB for the rest of our lives! ha!
    Merry Christmas to you, thank you for inspiring me & blessing my day with yours.
    Truly,
    Ada

  • Leigh - Dear AshleyAnn, while I’m sure this has been addressed before in the comments, I read your blog because I like to, not to judge you, but because I enjoy your words, your humor, you insight. Keep up the good work!

  • Amanda Frisbee - You do have a voice, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

  • Laura - I love your bog and your voice!!

  • katie - the amount of negativity in this fallen world is astounding sometimes! your blog is something i look forward to reading. i like to pretend we are friends. :) i am proud to call you my sister in Christ and fellow mother/photographer. obviously i don’t know you in real life, but i am so proud of you and of the way you use your voice (with humility, wisdom, humor, and grace). i read somewhere once that when we have true JOY (poured into us by HIM), we can’t help but let it overflow into every other aspect of our lives. you demonstrate that perfectly through your blog and i am so so glad you share it with all of us.

  • shelby - Your blog is my absolute favorite! Keep doing what you do! :)

  • brooke harper - I think you are awesome. And that’s what makes your blog so cool. Keep up the good work!

  • Kristen Duke Photography - So sorry you have had to deal with this. If I get annoyed with blogs…I just stop going! I have a small amount of time to check blogs, but I do enjoy your “voice” when I come by…I didn’t realize you are adopting, I am WAY behind! I think that is wonderful. I struggle almost daily with the idea of whether or not to expand to our brewd of 4. I adore my children and would love more, but feel content at the same time. I applaud you for all you do and share;)

  • Sarah M - I am delurking to let you know that I have been reading your blog religiously for the past year. I don’t have children yet, don’t craft very well, definitely don’t sew, etc. All that to say that we have very little in common and I still adore your blog down to my core and read it as often as posible. Keep writing and don’t let the few bad eggs ruin it for you–because you opened my eyes and my heart to adopting and Africa is working on me. You have a beauitiful voice and I can’t wait to keep hearing it!

  • Rebecca - Whatever happened to the old addage, “If you don’t have anything nice to day, don’t say anything at all?” I understand we all have an opinion, but to try to use it change what your blog is, is ridiculous to me. Don’t change the randomness. I like it.

  • Ellen - Wow! Those horrible comments insprired me to let you know how much joy your blog brings me. I do not have children or an interest in photography but I LOVE reading about your sweet and sassy kids and I really enjoy your photographs and and crafting ideas. I think it is so amazing that you are adopting and many of your posts on that topic bring tears to my eyes. I love how true to life your blog is and I hope that you don’t change!

  • Stacey Lyne - I have never left a comment on your blog before (even though i have been following it for over a year now) but i just had to say that i LOVE every bit of it! You Rock!!!

  • Megan - You see, this is why I read this blog. You are real and you are honest about who you are. I rarely comment because I rally don’t have much computer time each day. But I want you to know that I appreciate you and this blog. Thank you.

  • Diane - Well I’m a little late reading this last blog, but I’m really shocked that someone would sent you an e-mail like that, the main reason I read our blog is because you are real. You have an awsome way of putting your thoughts on paper. If someone doesen’t like your blog than they need to quite following not sent you an e-mail telling what you should write about. This is your space don’t change a thing!!! It is perfect just the way it is!!!!

  • Taylor - Hi Ashley. I just wanted to let you know that I am 18 years old. I got my wisdom teeth removed yesterday and was feeling a LITTLE bit better today so what do I do? I struggle to get over to my computer to catch up on your posts that I missed over the holiday and because of my surgery. I am and 18 years old with a love of photography and crafting, but I don’t have kids. I don’t understand your wanting and needing of adoption. I may not agree with everything you post, but I love your blog. That is what makes you so wonderful. Even though I don’t necessarily agree or relate to everything you write, I love reading it. YOU are wonderful.

  • Tara A - Ashley, I have been busy with Christmas and have not read your blog in a couple of days. I want you to know how amazing you are. I totally love your blog. I love the way you capture moments of your children with your camera. I love it all. Just wanted you to know………………you are amazing. Thanks, Tara

  • Joy Andrews - Dear Ashley

    i am so sorry that some people can be ignorant and hurtful, we cannot help that. In a corrupt world thats what happens, they need Jesus just as much as i do. I am a thinker most often in my life except when it comes to my husband and 4 kiddos-than I am momma bear :) and can be higly sensitive to things they say and do. I wish I could send some insensitivity your way-LOL but thats not who you are.

    People who make rude comments, as much as it causes you to stop and think, jus pray for them, delete it, and move on. They are not worth your time and energy to ponder or question yourself.

    Please continue to share the parts of yourself that you want on your blog, its YOUR blog, not anyone elses. You keep sharing your passions, your thoughts, your loves!
    i highly enjoy reading your blog, I try to catch up every few days so i jus read this and my heart ached for you, i really dont comment but i want you to read these words and be encouraged.

    I hope you dont write a seperate blog but thats up to you, i enjoy reading all that you share here on this one. Those other people can simply stop reading and they will be missing out.

    I was the one that sent you the Angela Thomas book-did you ever get a chance to read it? I know you are busy, i hope you did. Anyways you are beautiful, the exact way God created and thoughtfully made you-dont change what you are doing-keep being you!
    Zeph. 3:17
    joy andrews-iowa
    PS-a good friend of mine jus adopted from the Congo, the second family of many from our church, here is her blog if you are interested: thejlees.blogspot.com and another great fam from our church who has adopted also: team-sullivan.blogspot.com

  • bethany - Ashley– don’t let people steal the voice or the spirit God created in you.

    “He who formed the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth– the Lord God Almighty is his name.” Amos 4:13

  • zina zraikat - wow….867 comments! that right there is a great example of how the good FAR outwieghs the bad! People can be cruel, there is no doubt. I am dealing with some great cruelty right now, so i know the sting, the pain it brings. But the thing to remember is, people who are like that are usually lonley, bitter, unhappy or discontent with their own lives. Mabey they have been treated with cruelty all their lives and dont know any other way to express themselves. Either way, i would suggest that the next time you encounter such nastiness, just feel pity for them. Surley you must know JUST HOW MUCH you influence and inspire people in a POSITIVE WAY.
    xx
    zina

  • Kellie Ann - Hi, Ashley,

    I, too, have been celebrating Christmas so I have’t had the opportunity to read your blog in a few days. I would like to add to the other comments: thank you for using your blog to celebrate YOUR LIFE ! Thank you for sharing your life with us. You don’t have to write, but you do and many of us really appreciate your candidness, talent, and beauty. Those who do not, should find a new blog to read. It’s a very sad thing to spend the time to write someone a hateful email; that person (those people) must be hurting inside very much.

  • Marykay - I am always blown away by the fact that people leave comments like that, it is just so weird to me. Your blog is amazing as so many other people have said. I really appreciate the craftiness but also the way you challenge me to see the beauty in everyday life and to enjoy each moment with my kiddos. Thanks for using your voice.

  • Michelle - Ashley –
    I love that you write about your kids and parenting. I love that you write about your relationship with Jesus. I love that you post your craftiness and fun design ideas. I love that you give tips on photography. I love that you use what God has blessed you with to bless others and help teach others to enjoy life and give with everything you have. Thanks for not giving in to comments and discouragement that obviously comes from the enemy. God is using you in awesome ways, and I’m glad I get to read about it here!

  • Ashlee Osborn - If you don’t like this blog then no one is forcing you read it….I on the other hand, enjoy every post ;)

  • Rose E. - I haven’t commented much but I love every post you write. Other blogs I neglect for weeks at a time but I’m always excited to see what you’ve written. If I miss a few days, I make sure to read every post I’ve missed. I’m only 25, I’m not a mom and my passion is different than yours but your voice for Jesus is so encouraging to hear, especially when I feel suffocated by the world.

  • Southern Gal - I’m new here. I’ve been to your photography site before, but not here…I don’t think. Anyway from what I’ve read you seem to be like most bloggers. You blog about life. Guess what? They don’t have to read it if they don’t like it. And their opinion really doesn’t matter if you’re doing what you love. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but that’s how I feel about the whole ugly side of blogging.

    Praying for your adoption process. Did you read the story behind the Third Day song? So sweet.

  • Tami C - Oh my goodness, that person is so WRONG. She needs to get over herself. I thank you for the glimpse in to your world, your creative world. Gives us all something to think about, from crafting to parenting to adopting. (Don’t forget when you are doing good for the Lord, like raising awareness on the sadness of our world the “enemy” will try to tear you down.)

  • Heather - I know after 875 comments, you probably don’t need one more, but I can’t help myself. I was just trying to “catch up” on the posts I missed through the holidays, because yours is the ONLY blog I care about reading EACH and EVERY post. Thank you. I love photography, crafting, I’m a Christian, a mom and I’ve adopted, but the number one thing I love about your blog is that it is so heart-felt and sincere. I felt so uber blessed that I happened upon your site through Mpix. I honestly think of you as a best-friend who just doesn’t know me. You bless so many! Keep up the good work.

  • Shana - Ok – this post PISSED me off. I read your amazing words (attempting to finally catch up on all of my reading) and internet-stormed over here to leave you some “You Go Girl” comments!

    Aaaand then I saw that 876 others had the same response. So Yay – that’s good.

    I’m sure it’s been said already, but I am so happy, each and every day, to read your blog. I’m not a crafter, not a person of great faith, I’ve never adopted, and, uh, you know my level of photography skills, but I find your blog inspiring and interesting and something that makes me stretch. And stretching, I find, is always good. So thank you for that. In the future, if you ever need to hear how fabulous you are, I will always be up for that. Just let me know. :)
    xoxo
    S

  • Lili - Don’t stop!!! I LOVE your blog!

  • Julie B - Without you I may not have discovered Compassion. I am not religious but it doesn’t bother me that you express your faith on YOUR blog. I think that sometimes people forget that its not about them. Even though there are so many posts that I feel you are writing just for me, or they touched my soul, I know that you wrote them for yourself. Blogging is my creative outlet as well and I don’t care if I have 5 followers or 5000, its for me. There are so many times when blogging has saved my sanity! Keep on keeping on, I love reading!!!

  • julie - I love your blog too…for the similarities (being at home with my daughter and 3 boys, a love for being creative, crafty) for learning so much from you about photography, and being inspired by your journey in adoption. Love all that you blog about.

  • Erika Matuszek - Ashley – I read your blog everyday, and I absolutely love it! This is actually the ONLY blog I have ever really gotten, I guess you could say, “addicted” to :). You have actually been a huge inspiration for me to begin my own blog, and for many of the same reasons – I just feel the need to have a place where everything that “races around in my head” can come together. It’s something I have wanted to do for a long time, but always had that itchy nervous feeling about what people might say about my world-views… but you have given me encouragement – Its not for them, it’s for me. I want to USE my voice. If I can even come remotely close to having the impact your blog is having, it will be a joy; but even if it doesn’t, I know it is something I will enjoy doing.

    I’ll send you the link once I’m set up and started – goal is January 31st.

  • Pamelao - I love your blog
    Because it is not a photo blog,
    because it is not a parenting blog,
    because it is not a charitable blog,
    because it is not a craft blog.

    I love it because it represents you.

  • Teresa - I realize that my little comment may never be read. It appears that many, many people agree with me…but I just wanted to let you know that I love your heart and I love that your blog reflects your heart. Thanks for posting wonderful snippets. Many times your little posts move me to tears and to laughter. So thanks!

  • Audra - Your blog is inspiring and I look forward to nap times when I can grab a cup of coffee and read it. Thank you for not giving in to the negativity.
    Bless you,
    Audra

  • Becky Garling - Don’t let a hater make you rethink your personality. Happy 2012~

  • Louise - Dear Ashley,

    My english is very poor but I read your blog very often (even form work) and I just love it. Your blog is just full of love and wonder, it’s a delight to me.
    Until now I had never written any comment, I was just one of thoses “silent visitors” spying upon your adorable family and your lovely creations.
    I love them (kids and crafts) so much that I felt I had to tell you that this comment is sooo unapproriate I could cry reading it!!
    I’m not christian (deeply atheistic in fact) but you represent what love, generosity and humanity means to me. So please just don’t care anymore for this mean and ridiculous comment !!
    Keep on loving, praying and creating you’re definitively a great humain being !
    Louise from France

  • Mama Moose - Ashley,

    If you change a thing on your blog, I will stop reading it. :-) Seriously, you are all those things, a mom, a homemaker, a photographer, a wife, etc. I love this blog for the fact that it is a little bit of everything (though I wish you would always post your photo info for each pic, lol). You just be you. You do it perfectly!

  • Lori Kroh - The dark in their hearts causes them to hate the light in yours!! – my quote…I think. Hey! I have a loud voice and I will always use it to proclaim God’s grace and goodness in my life – Use your voice as long as you live!! I wouldn’t be the MOTHER I am today – if not for your blog!!! You have given me so many insights and always just when I needed them! Chin up and let’s crack on! (just saw Sherlock) can’t help myself to some proper British speak)! love and hugs and one more hug for the road.

  • cynthia - AMEN!!! I love your voice. Keep sharing it!!!! Thanks!!! :)

  • Selina - Good on you girl!
    Unfortunately, we are always going to hear differing opinions of others but I thank God he gives us the strength we need to brush it off and keep going with what we know he wants us to share on our blogs.
    Your voice is an encouragement!

  • Jamilla Y. - I Love your Blog! I read it as often as I can, it is the reason I have the courage to take my blog in the direction I have always wanted to go. You give me the courage to face the nay sayers and write about what I believe, and makes me who I am. Don’t ever stop being you, this is why I and all your readers stop by here each day! Keep it up!

  • Tammy - Gaaahhh! That would be awful to separate the two. I’m glad you didn’t take the advice of the comment. The wonderful thing about your blog is that you have a heart for God, justice, and the world AND you are “just” a normal gal who loves to chill with your family and create. Shows us all that us normal folks can make a difference too. It isn’t an all or nothing. It’s a Christ centered life that is reflected in all that we do. I love your blog just the way it is. :)

  • Heldine - I’m glad that you are strong and do not let those words of discouragement put you down. :) Keep on writing cause I will keep on reading.

  • Lauren - Thank you Ashley for sharing your heart! Thank you for sharing your ordinaries and your passions and your care for others and love of the Lord! These things are a picture of the beautiful person Christ has created you to be! Thank you! Do not lose heart <3

  • Rachel - Well said, Ashley! I adore your blog and it’s really refreshing to see someone write about what she loves with such passion. Every single post is so relevant to my life and reminds me of what is truly important. Please don’t change a thing you do!

    P.S. I especially love the your posts on the adoption process–my new husband and I hope to take that journey one day also! :)

  • Pix - Boo to the mean people. Perfectly stated and I’m glad you speak up for what you believe in. No, my faith is not the same as yours. But what does it matter? We are both kind women who care about the world and others in it. In terms of the adoption–I’m sorry you are learning this, but unfortunately not everyone *gets* adoption. It’s incredibly painful to acknowledge and utterly impossible for me to understand. But adoption needs strong voices and positive people. And that, dear, is you! Congrats on being a woman who sticks by her beliefs.

  • Nicole Voth - My goodness Ashley – I LOVE YOUR BLOG! just the way it is, just the way you want it to be. I love learning about your life and being inspired by you to change the world around me. I love especially hearing about your daughter who is the same age as my son. All of your children are completely captivating. I love being surprised by the topic of your next blog post and getting a tiny peak into your amazing life.

    Thank you. Don’t be discouraged. Shine God’s love to everyone you can.

  • Caro - Well said Ashley! Your blog is great just the way it is in my opinion. You are a wonderful inspiration and please don’t stop doing what you do best!

  • Chris K - Ashley – I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. Your posts are honest and sweet. I feel sorry for the people who can’t see the beauty in the variety that is your life. Keep on doing what you’re doing. :)smiles to you.

  • 50 Things to Write About When You Have Writer’s Block « the Wiseass Wife - [...] 49. Like Ashley, be strong, be you. [...]

  • Lisa E - I came over via Centsational Girl about being strong. I have never read a thing on your blog prior to this posting. Apparently I have missed out! I am glad to see that although it can hurt, you will not let these small minded people keep you down. I, like you, believe if you don’t like it, don’t read it. I could see their protest if you were doing something most would find offensive and evil, but just from the few comments I’ve read you are not. So I applaud you and your quest to remain true to yourself and your blog and I for one will become your newest reader. God speed!

  • ashleygee - You have changed the world.

    You’ve certainly changed me.

    You’re blog brings hope, in more ways than one.

    I could go on and on. But, I won’t.

    thank you for sharing a part of yourself.

  • holly - Thanks for being real- just found your site.

    PS My 16 year old son gave a Christmas gift to smile train.

    Blessings

  • Angela - Gurrrrl, double snap your fingers..Love your blog your passion and faith,that’s the right we have to choose other places ,sites movies,blogs,etc that gel with our personal belief system so keep on moving ahead and shout your feelings from the computer knowing there are many who support you!!! Take care-Angela

  • Turf - Thank You for this post. I would like to write something simular on my blog. This is good idea so I might use it!

  • hearttypat - I don’t get why there are people out there who are trying to be mean and how they can be unhappy with your blog. Like many here, i thoroughly enjoy your blog, and many a times, your posts have made me reflect on my own behaviour and actions. You are truly an inspiration and I hope you will never stop finding yours.

    To those who are whiners, they can look somewhere else.

  • Renay - Beautiful. Eloquently written. Inspiring. Tremendous. Exceptional. Fantastic job. I love your posts! All of them! Keep up the great work. I wish you well in all that you do!

  • Moe - Goodness Gracious!

    There are a lot of comments! But I just wanted to say this is a great post. I never thought that an identity would be so important. You keep on doing you girl!!

    Happy Leap Day

  • Amy Herrick - Your words will be heard. They will continue to get louder, and each time someone new reads your words or is inspired by your works your message will grow bigger! Interesting, sometimes what we think we don’t like in others is the exact thing we don’t like in ourselves. I praise you for your courage and strength! Thank you for sharing your gifts…

  • Valerie - This is something I tell my kids…”Haters hate, don’t be a hater.”

    This is your blog, your space!

    Personally, I really enjoy your blog, so thanks.

  • Pam - Completely ignore those negative comments. I recently found your blog via your photo in this month’s issue of Parents Magazine, and I love it. It has such charm & I have been quite enthralled going through past entries. I honestly can’t believe people would be so cruel, but then again, it always astonishes me. This is your blog and you can post whatever you want. I, too, have thin skin so I can empathize.

  • Ginger - Wow, great post, hope the person or persons reads it that wrote those hurtful comments. God made us all different. I appreciate and enjoy reading this blog everyday. I am sure I would not enjoy any blogs those commentors follow. So what I do is just not follow them. I would never think to post something like those comments, even if I came accross a blog I totally disagreed with. I think that person or persons could use a hug, they are really hurting deep inside if they can rejoice with Good over Evil.

  • Julien - I’m not a mom, I don’t craft, I’m not passionate about photography, I’m not a Christian, I’m not adopting (at least anytime soon)

    And I still love your blog. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us.

  • Anna dela Cruz - I stumbled upon your blog this morning via Cakies blog. I’ve already read several of your posts. Please keep writing. You’ve already given me much to chew on and ponder. When you’re real, you will no doubt offend but know that there are many out here who are thirsting for real. Keep telling the truth. That’s my vote. ;-) Anna

  • Donna Mc - Dear Ashley,

    I will probably never read your blog again but NOT for silly, personal reasons. It’s a wonderful blog and I loved reading it. I’m just more of a web miner – check out things that look interesting (like your palette nursery bed); grab photos, patterns and ideas; and move on to the next interesting thing. I’m a social justice fanatic, myself. Something of a community advocate in that area, though that’s where my formal education also lies. If folks don’t care for your blog, they can just move on. Why anyone would WASTE the time posting a letter like the above is beyond me. Talk about a violation of social justice principles.

    Can’t help but hope there’s karma for people like that, sometimes. On the other hand, if we all got what we deserved – well, I know I wouldn’t have lived half as long or happy a life as I have. And I must be a lot happier than those who complain – especially those who have the time and inclination to complain about things like blogs they don’t happen to like instead of making a single mouse click and heading for something they prefer.

    Keep up the good work. I may not happen on your blog again, but I enjoyed my stay.

    Donna

  • tb - your blog is perfect. seriously, perfect. don’t change a thing. xo a blog reader

  • Toni - It broke my heart to read this and realize that anyone might say anything mean. I know this blog is a bit older but I couldn’t help wanting to tell you that I came across your blog a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely love, love reading all of it. I love how you don’t pretend that everything is perfect but that you have already figured out to enjoy every min, hour and day with your family. So even though others feel that they need to be negative I am glad that you have continued to blog so that I could learn something from you that will help me to enjoy the life God has given me.

  • I Love Gifting - I can imagine just what it must have taken for you to write this post. And I can imagine how much those comments must’ve hurt. Some people don’t realise how thoughtless or mean they are being.

    The important thing is this. They have the option ‘not to read’ and you have the right to ‘continue to write what you feel, what you want’.

    Don’t change Asley; otherwise it won’t be ‘Under the Sycamore’ anymore.

  • Shelby Mackenzie - I have absolutely fallen in love with your blog. I found it through A Beautiful Mess this week and I’ve already read months worth of posts! After reading some of your posts I realized I recognized some of the places you had been.. much to my surprise, you’re from Tulsa like me! SO COOL!! Your family is beautiful! I have plans to make some of your awesome DIY crafts this summer! I think it’s great that you put charity information on here – it lets me learn of great organizations that I wouldn’t have before! I aspire to become a strong Christian mother like you some day! Keep on doing what you’re doing! (:

  • http://weebstring.weebly.com/ - I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark
    your blog and check again here frequently. I’m quite certain I’ll learn
    many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the
    next!

  • Micah Grace - I have never visited your blog before, and I just stopped by for photography advice, but I ended up reading this post, and I must say — Bra-Vo!!

    Loved what you had to say, and it was really an encouragement to me as I try to find my own voice in the blogrealm.

  • Samantha Cox - Ashley, I am inspired by your story. Thank you for being brave to share it with many people you don’t know. I am encouraged by your self-assurance in knowing that you have a voice, and it challenges me to make sure I am still speaking mine, even when people don’t like me, either. Gosh, such a tough one! You are wise. Your blog lifts my spirits, makes me hopeful of who I can be as a mom someday, and shows me what a life of freedom, peace, and joy can look like. I am so grateful for your blog.

  • Christin - Greetings! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you
    know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when
    browsing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that
    might be able to fix this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share.
    Appreciate it!

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