Chris taught the boys how to play Capture the Flag a little while back. Since then my oldest has been dreaming of having a bunch of friends and their dads over to play an “epic” game. He and Chris planned. They mowed paths in our field. They drew out the course. They invited friends. And they decided this Labor Day weekend would be the first annual game…to be followed by many more in the years to come. My oldest said he is looking forward to the day that his friends can take on all the dads and win.  I told him to watch out….I think the moms could take them all.

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Those that endured the heat and wore pants were thankful….they could get off the mowed paths for more covert attacks.9.14capturetheflag-029.14capturetheflag-039.14capturetheflag-04

The little girls were going to watch…then they couldn’t help from joining in the game. (that is not my daughter on the far left, its her friend. They are a month apart in age….just in case someone was wondering when her hair grew and got curls!)9.14capturetheflag-059.14capturetheflag-06

This summer I read Moment Maker by my friend Carlos Whittaker. We’ve only sat down for one meal together, but he and his wife have been such an encouragement to me for so long…I claim them as friends! Anyway, I shared this quote on Instagram and wanted to share it here:

“As you are creating moments, don’t take the process for granted.

Don’t let the moment happen without realizing that the intention that comes before the moment is what makes it all meaningful.”

The Capture the Flag night was a summer highlight for my son. He may not recognize it, but part of what made the night so great for him was all the time he spent with his dad planning and dreaming. It was the intention going into the night that made it meaningful for him…for us.

I talk a lot about how photography helps me see the little things that make up my days. When I look through my camera, I notice things that I miss otherwise. As I was snapping a photo of Carlos’ book for this post, I noticed someone added a doll among my deer. I left her there. She makes me smile now.

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  • michele - I love this post because it has many hidden treasures that may not be revealed for years to come.
    It also reminds me of one of my favorite songs.

    CINDY MORGAN
    How Could I Ask For More?
    “There’s nothing like the warmth of a summer afternoon
    Waking to the sunlight, being cradled by the moon
    Catching fireflies at night, building castles in the sand
    Kissing mama’s face goodnight and holding daddy’s hand
    Thank you, Lord, how could I ask for more?”

    Please keep recording these beautiful memories and thank you so much for sharing them with us.

  • RachelC - What a fun idea and holiday tradition!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh wow – now I’m going to have to go get that book! It sounds wonderful.

  • Jessica R - It has been bugging me for a few days how I know the name Carlos Whittaker. I finally pieced it together – he works at my church! What a small world. I had no idea he had a book. Off to Amazon…

  • Amy Rendziak - It’s been awhile since I have been able to catch up on your blog. Sitting here tonight I again saw the white sheets with the little blue “flowers” and again thought “OMG! Ashley and I have the same sheets!” Then, I thought that sounded kinda stalker-ish. ;)

    I love your blog!

8.4sleep-01

He was running a fever. My ‘mom-gut’ told me it was nothing major, no need for a doctor’s visit or concern. He needed rest.

He took a long nap in my bed. Peaceful. Content. Safe.

Not for a second was I worried that his fever would turn into something else. I wasn’t worried that the fever would never go away. I didn’t think twice about it.

And then, I did.

I sat on the bed next to him and just wept over him. I thought of so many moms in Liberia and West Africa. I thought of the fear that must wash over them right now at any sign of childhood illness. How a fever to them could be their greatest fear. I thought of their pain. I sat and watched my feverish son sleep peacefully. Ebola was not a concern. I was not worried that he would wake up and begin throwing up and then start showing signs for a disease taking 1000s of lives. I wasn’t worried that I was going to lose him. It feels unfair -  a mom should not worry death looms at the sign of a fever. My little guy woke up. Fever gone soon. He was back running around, jumping on the trampoline, playing with chickens and just being a kid. And I was just being a mom enjoying him. And I wept at how easily I take so much of my life for granted.

My heart is aching for my friends in Liberia. For the people of West Africa.

I think about my new friends in neighboring Ghana, about their villages, about their communities.

Everywhere I look people are hurting. Some are on tv. Some I saw yesterday. Some are reading this blog.

Some I know their hurt. Others face pain silently.

The world is full of those that want to take down others – whether with guns, words or actions.

Often those wanting to take down others are hurting as much as the ones they want to take down.

I can’t stop the Ebola outbreak. I can’t fight cancer for a friend. I can take my heart break and find a way to use it. I can be one that builds others up instead of taking them down. I can be one that doesn’t dig to find that one terrible thing about someone. Instead, I can search for the good and celebrate it in the people around me. I can look at the simplest parts of my day with gratitude. I can choose to look and listen to the cries of the world around me and help my children see those things too. I can choose to see. I can choose to love. I can choose to let that love take action.

Today I am going to find an action of love to take and I am going to do it.

Everyone-Poster_grande*Poster found at Help Ink

 

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  • Rosa ML - You are so inspiring, Ashley… Thanks for your words.
    Greetings from the south of Spain, where some people also suffer in silence, like everywhere else.

  • Kirsten - I was JUST NOW despairing over all of the hurt in the world and feeling completely helpless. Thanks for the timely reminder…and encouragement that I can do something, even if it is a little something.

  • Arifa - You have such a beautiful and courageous heart. I love your blog.

  • Birdy - You are so right with this thought! I also give Ebola quiet a lot time this days. I wished so often to be a doctor myself and go and help… but this won’t happened so I think about different ways to help… But to fight against Ebola seems to me mostly impossible.

    How are you helping?
    Love to read about this thoughts as well.

    Wish you a wonderful weekend and hopefully your little boy get well soon!
    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/08/have-wonderful-weekend_29.html

    Love from Germany and the -fatcatconnection-
    Birdy

  • Lisa | Winter Heights - Thank you for this! I love finding areas in my life to be more and more thankful…and on the flip side encouraged to pray and act for those experiencing pains I cannot fully fathom. Another lovely post, thanks Ashley.

  • Mary Kate - I wept as I read this. Thank you for the reminder that we are so blessed in so many ways.

  • Kingsley Moore - Thank you… for always inspiring and reminding me, for using your platform as a change agent. You change lives. :) kingsley

  • rebekah - Thank you for being brave enough to share your heart. It’s refreshing and inspiring. I have often thought of the people facing battles silently…When we ask God to give us a heart like His…He blesses us with the beautiful burden of loving others and seeing them as Jesus sees them…sees us. I thank God for your desire to spread the love. Thank you.

  • Jen - Having spent x3 days in the children’s hospital with both my 1yr old and 3yr old fighting a fever I know exactly how you felt…
    When the doctors admitted the kids they suspected typhoid as we had just spent some time travelling in India as a family – my husband and I were also sick….thankfully a few days of observations and tests later they confirmed it was ‘just’ the flu. What a relief for us, but as you say for others round the world and used to be here in our country the flu can kill…let us be mindful.

  • jenny - this brought tears to my eyes… thank you for putting it all back in perspective. it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day and forget how lucky we are especially when it comes to the little (yet big) things. you have such a good heart. i feel lucky to get to be inspired by you :)

  • Emily Betzler - WOW! Thank you for this inspiration and perspective today. Keep on doing what you do!!!

  • Jenny - This is beautifully written! My heart just breaks thinking of what other people are enduring! Bless you, for reminding us to count our blessings and be a blessing to others!

  • Amy M - Its hard to grasp all the things that most of us take for granted are such a struggle for others. Thanks for the reminder. <3

  • the inadvertent farmer - Thank you for sharing your heart with us today. This world that seems so evil and overwhelming at times is certainly a better place because you are in it, thanks for choosing love. Kim

  • Ilse - You just made me cry. Great post.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - So, so true. spread that beauty – you have a gift at it.

  • Faith - Thanks for such a beautiful and inspiring message. Bless you and your family.
    It’s not easy to think about all the pain and suffering and injustice in the world. But I need to think of these things and do my part to make it stop.

  • Cheryl - As a mom with a child with a chronic illness, I understand a mother’s fear that her child could be taken from her at any time. I have experienced my child being so ill that his doctors feared they might not be able to save him. It is a daily struggle of injections, medications and all the other things that are necessary to attempt to control a disease that is trying to kill my son every single day. We won’t let it. We will fight, and because we have good medical insurance and great doctors, we have the tools to do so. My heart breaks for mothers who have no way to save their kids, no way to protect them from disease and all the other bad things in the world.

  • Jamie J - I’m not normally one to cry easily, but these same exact thoughts have been flooding my mind lately and I just cry. Images of little ones in urine-filled diapers hiding out in mountaintops in 115-degree heat desperate for food and water — what if that was my toddler? The sicknesses and evil going on in parts of this world have left me feeling almost “guilty” for being so fortunate to live free from that. I just pray for them. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t grasp why things have to be so miserable, scary for so many people. This post just really hit me bc it shares the same thoughts I’ve been having so often these days.

  • erin - You have no idea how much these words spoke to my heart today. Thank you so much for putting this on your corner of the Internet. It was much needed for me, personally.

  • Theresa - This is so powerful to me. My fiancé was supposed to be leaving for Liberia this week to finish his PHD research but it was too dangerous. Luckily the friends that we have over there have not gotten the illness but it is a daily fear that I feel like most people are forgetting about. Thank you for bringing this up to your other readers.

  • Michelle B. - Thank you for these words.

  • meg duerksen - well this breaks my heart. i am trying to hold it together every time i think about liberia. i am a mess inside. its so messy. so broken. so scary. God be with them.

  • Tracy A - Love your heart friend. Someone told me recently, “your life makes an eternal difference.”–and yours does, too. Thanks sister!

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Guangzhou, China. August 27, 2014. - still one of my most favorite stories ever.

Truly, we have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

I’m determined to snap a family photo today and add it to this post!

.

.

Got one…a grainy family ‘selfie’ but it counts!

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  • Marie - One of my most favorite stories ever too! Thanks for sharing it today…I so enjoyed revisiting it!
    I look forward to seeing the family photo today!!

  • danielle - YAY! Congrats on two years!!!

  • Meredith N - I can’t believe how much she’s grown! She’s gorgeous. Congratulations! I love this: Truly, we have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

  • erin - Hard to believe it has already been 2 years! I have loved following her journey and your’s; thank you!

  • Lucrecer - Read the story of when you picked up your little girl and I loved it. I could actually feel the anticipation of meeting her and welcoming her into your family. Truly beautiful. I have enjoyed reading about and seeing your family’s adventures. Continued blessings to you all.

  • Jane - Thanks for sharing her journey! I love seeing how much she has grown and blossomed since joining your family!!

  • Carrie Campbell - Amen and Amen!! Congrats, Ashley and family of Campbells!!! :)

  • Shana - Wow I cannot believe it’s been 2 years already! It’s been an incredible journey and so enjoyable to read! Thank you for sharing your stories and photos with all of us!

  • Michelle Hill - I can read her story a thousand times over. Its simply miraculous and beautiful. What a gift from god you all are to each other. I can’t believe how much she as grown, learned and endured in only two short years. She is one strong being.
    Congratulations to you and your family :)

  • Meg - Happy Day! Blessings to your family.

  • amber - 2 years?! That’s just crazy. Congratulations & what a precious girl. And what a precious family. So honored to know her story. Have a wonderful day celebrating:)!

  • D'On - Loved this so much! Thinking about it gets me all emotional. What beautiful story and what a beautiful journey for your family!

  • Anna @ A Good Home - Oh, what a joy she is. I honestly tear up all the time when you post pictures of her. Her journey to you and yours to her are so, so precious. Thank the Lord for families pieced together in lots of different ways.

  • Susan - So hard to believe it has already been two years since she began to sing her “Song” in your family.
    May God continually bless you all!
    Susan

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Congratulations to you all! It’s been such a joy watching little one’s miraculous transformation in just two short years! Such a blessing!

  • Jenni - Thank you for posting this! I saw that photo the other day of the two of you and I went in search for this post but couldn’t find it. I remember that whole trip so clearly and how nervous I was for all of you. What an amazing day:). I can’t believe it’s been two years!! God is good!:)

  • Bek Ryder - It was SO nice revisiting this today! still gave me chills and tears in my eyes. Especially the pic of your husband holding her while she slept, with a tear running down his cheek! When this happened 2 years ago, I loved the story, but now, since then,I’ve had a baby girl of my own, who turned 8 months today. So today I can imagine even more the emotions, the stages little one was at, and just the whole picture is even clearer to me. What a beautiful story! <3

  • Jennifer @ Godstellations - It has been a wonderful blessing to all of us reading and following along with these past two years. I can’t believe it has been that long. May this anniversary grow with blessings year after year!

  • Taylor - Congrats! I can’t believe it’s already been two years! I’ve been following your blog for almost four years now and I didn’t even realize it!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Kelleyn - It is hard to believe that it has been two year! WOW! I remember waiting each day for an update and now we have our own China baby.

  • Laura Sudderth - God is good! Little One has come so very far, you all have. Many blessings to you all.

  • kimberly oyler - love sharing my birthday with this day!!

  • Kathleen - Man, I had never read those stories. So glad I spent nap time doing so today. Can’t stop crying:) our awesome God at work, encouraged to think again on how he is showing himself. And I am really looking forward to learning to tell stories in a new way in the Snap shops course. Thanks for being willing to share, Ashley!

  • RaD - I’ll have to make a mental note to come back and see it!

    My how she has grown. And my how time flies! Two years! I remember all the waiting and now it’s been two years!

  • Paige - Oh! Happy Little One Day! Your story is just absolutely beautiful. I love reading how Jesus brought your girl to you. It is a massive encouragement and story of HOPE. We are wanting to bring our own little one home soon and you posts make the process seem a little more sacred and a little less scary. Have a beautiful day of celebration (:

  • Laree @ Ever Heard Of Euless - That was really 2 years ago already? Wow, that means I’ve been following your adventures for 2.5 years now. Love it all, and I adore this picture too!

  • Sara W - What a beautiful photo! I love the way Little One is watching her dad. And I love that verse.

  • Brooke - Ashely it’s be such a pleasure to follow your blog and watch this story unfold. I get all teary eye’d when I tell friends about your story and Little One’s big and small moments. I’m SO inspired by you. I look forward to many more years watching your family grow up and celebrating the big and little moments (virtually) right along with you.

  • Jen - How can it be two years already? I remember the posts even before you met her. And now it’s like she has always been a part of your family. I love watching her grow, seeing her and Firecracker together, seeing her conquer each one of her fears. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  • Katie - Wow I can’t believe it has been two years and your daughters look a lot alike in this picture!! <3

  • gHina - Yaaay..congratulations :) Btw, your two daughters have the same smile! :D

  • Deirdre Humer - Happy Gotcha Day from a fellow Yangxi family that just celebrated 2 years this July. Our daughters were in the orphange at the same time and I recall seeing your daughter when we traveled for our visit. If you ever travel to NYC, we would to love to meet your family and introduce our daughter to your little girl. Continued blessings.

  • Kelsey Kautzi - I’ve read that story several times and I cry every time. We are coming up on 18 months home with our baby girl and it’s hard to read other stories and not be forcibly reminded of the emotions of our gotcha day. Thanks for sharing your story again.

  • Jami - Love it!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my goodness! Has it really been two years?! Congratulations!

  • Sasha Farina - This make me very happy!

    (ps : i’ve been reading for a while – so glad i found you)

  • Rachel - Such a special, special time for you and your family…do you know what caught my eye in the current photo…your daughters’ faces are a similar shape and their smiles look the same…made me smile!

  • Sundee - What a difference two years makes :) God bless the journey!!

  • Chelsea - So much beauty in that photo, inside and out! Your family rocks, love seeing how little one is thriving and growing.

  • Monica - Beautiful picture! I always hear that adoptive kids look a like the family who adopt them. I guess it is true. Little One has the same smile like Firecracker, the eyes of Chris and the light of your soul. She is beautiful. Your family is beautiful. Your daughter Little One is very special, She is special for me even I don’t know her. Her story is just LOVE! God bless you and your family.

  • Sharla - grainy or not, that is an AWESOME family shot

  • christina larsen - Hope you enjoyed your Gotcha Day!

  • donna - Looking at the picture from 2 years ago and the current one shows your sons becoming young men. You need to take a close up of each child on their birthday to see the ageing you don’t notice, it would make a great gift to them when they turn 21. Just a thought.

  • Diana - Perfect!! What a special day to celebrate!

  • candice - I have been following your blog for a while now. I found it when I was searching for adoption stories….we are just starting to really looking into what that means for our family. I am daily encouraged by your honesty and faith. We also homeschool!!! This post if precious. Adoption is the heart of God and a BEAUTIFUL way to build a family!!!

  • Cecile - How beautiful from the inside and out! :-)

  • Kasey W. - I LOVE this! We have just started the process to adopt from China and this just makes me want to go NOW!!! I love your blog and your story!

  • Josephine - Hi fives, Campbell’s! I can’t know the extremes of the last two years in your family’s life, nor what lies ahead, but it would appear ‘the force’ is strong with you guys. Respect and hugs.

  • Haley - I started following you shortly before you went to pick up Little One and have loved every post since. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of your journey.

  • Riann - God is so good!

  • Holly - Wow! What a difference 2 years makes!

  • elizabeth H - Her story. Your beginnings. beautiful!

  • Caitlin E - 2 years already!? Oh Ashley, I’ve been following your story since before you picked up Little One (and then did a snapshop course!), and this post just makes me cry happy tears! Especially going back to read the original. You looks so happy and healthy today. My prayers are with your family today especially!

  • amy jupin - i almost cannot handle the sweetness in this photo. i instantly cried when i saw it. you have such a beautiful family.

  • Jessica R - The difference in LO is striking! She looks healthy and… peaceful. Content. So happy for your family :)

  • Amy C - Wow, she’s grown and changed so much! You have a beautiful family!

  • Ashleigh - Wow! 2 years has gone by! And how quickly it has!
    Thanks you for sharing as your do! You and your family are a beautiful inspiration.