Guest posts seem to come in spurts for me. I really don’t do guest posts often because I try to limit my time on the computer and I like posting here. However, recently two of my friends asked me to share a little bit on their blogs and I was honored to get to do so.

The first guest post is on my friend Erin’s blog. She is doing a series on ‘Balance’ and asked me to share a little bit about how I juggle home, work, schooling and all the other stuff. My post really is more about how I don’t balance it all and how I’ve had to come to grips with how I can’t do it all and do it all well. I choose not to do it all. I choose to say “no”, so I can say “yes”. If you want to read the whole ‘how not to balance it all’ post, you can click here to go to Erin’s blog, Tweet Potato Pie.erin-01

My second post is over at No Hands But Ours, a blog full of resources for adoptive families (with a focus on “special need” adoptions from China). A few of my friends are authors on NHBO and I am thrilled to celebrate a new blog launch with them. I wrote a post about watching my youngest daughter come to life. You can click here to read my guest post.9.14NHBO-019.14NHBO-03

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  • LeeH - Nice guest post. I just want to say.. that your little loved ones FEEL that they are important is a VERY important thing. Take it from one who heard the empty words but never felt any truth behind them, it hurts, and it’s a hurt that never goes away. I remember saying to my Mom when I was in my 20′s that I knew she loved me, but I didn’t feel that she loved ME.
    Anyway. I just want to say GO YOU!, Nothing will ever be as important as your family KNOWING that you love them.

  • Chantel - I just read your post about balance and LOVE it! I love that you have decided to put your family ahead of business and networking and yet your business still thrives. Thanks for being such a great role model to all us other mothers out there!

  • Debbie - What a great post on not balancing everything. I take my hat off to you for figuring this out at a young age. You go girl!!!

  • Paige - Love the aspect of yes, we will disappoint someone. No question about that. But its WHO we decide to disappoint that defines who we love. You need to make a T-shirt. Or get your sis to create a print. I would hang that in a heartbeat. Your littlest makes me want to bawl and shout for joy at the same time. God put her exactly in the right place with the right brothers and sister and Dad and Mama. Keep embracing your seasons, Ashley Campbell. You are conquering where it matters!

  • Sue Symens - You inspire me! Praying for your day. Blessing to your family.

  • Susan - Your post on Erin’s blog is just AWESOME, AWE-INSPIRING, AND HONEST.
    You are years ahead of me and I am years OLDER than you. Thank you for the reminder that the ones to be there for are those that you love, that you live with, that you would die for.
    Love, love, love you for your honesty.
    Susan

  • jennifer carlisle - I have to say that your article at Tweet Potatoe Pie just really hit home with me. I too treasure the too quickly passing time with my kids. Finding balance is so important. Thank you! Your children are blessed to have you as their mother.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Thank you for writing the post on balance. You teach me so much. I’m so thankful that you shared it!

  • kimberly oyler - oh ashley, you are so full of wisdom. and such a good mom. i laughed at the part about responding to emails though. considering how many emails you probably get, i’ve always thought you were so quick to reply!

  • Julie - Loved the guest posts, saying “no” to free yourself for “yes” to the littles-that’s exactly what I needed to read right now. I struggle with it daily. Thanks again!

  • Emily Betzler - THANK YOU! Your guest post on balance was such a good and important reminder for me. Your openness and honesty is a gift.

    - emily

Brothers a few years ahead of them.
A sister a few years below.
They are in the middle, 15 months apart.

My twins that aren’t twins, but are becoming more ‘twin-like’ each day.

He passed down the Spider Man costume, she was happy to take over ownership.
9.14spidergirl-01She hugs him a lot. He endures it. Deep down I know he really likes it.9.14spidergirl-02She joined me in the trailer while I was packing away a few things. Looking so cute climbing around, I asked her if I could take a picture. She agreed, but then got grumpy about it.9.14spidergirl-04I was just about to put my camera down, when I noticed the spark in her eye. Can you see it?9.14spidergirl-05She spotted the mirror behind me….9.14spidergirl-069.14spidergirl-07Oh yea, I’m cute stuff.9.14spidergirl-089.14spidergirl-09He 10 year old brother can tune me out when he has a book.

Her 8 year old brother can tune me out when he is drawing.

Her 6 year old brother can tune me out – well, all the time.

She can tune me out when she spots a mirror.

Watch out world, it is Wonder Spider Girl.

House pictures: ISO 125, 1/250, f/1.4

Trailer pictures: ISO 320, 1/200, f/2.8

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  • Tracy Newton - I too had a spider girl with a brother 25 months ahead of her. The love they shared at that age was remarkable. Their relationship is having a few growing pains now that they are in their teens but at the core is still that same tremendous love.

  • Kassondra - I have 4 girls and yet my 2nd is a huge spiderman fan. I guess it’s something to do with the ability to climb and all kinds of things.but Spider Man is definitely not just for boys :)

  • Sasha Farina - oh she’s so cute i can’t stand it!

  • Debbie Mayfield - She is adorable. I hope she never loses her spirit.

  • Julie - Sweet! Maybe you need a miner’s hat, the light replaced with a small mirror?

  • Heather - My son and daughter are 16 months apart, so I love seeing a glimpse of the future in your two middle kiddos. My daughter happily plays with her brother’s toys right now and I can see that being a trend as she’s a bit of a daredevil (even at 10 months). :p

  • Tiffany - Haha! Love this post– what an awesome super-hero{ine}!! *Adorable, priceless pictures! :)

  • Seamingly Sarah - We love Wonder Woman over here in our household. My two daughters just adore her and She-Ra. We’ve got homemade costumes for both, although the Wonder Woman costume could use work. My 6 year old insisted on the underwear part of the costume to be exactly like Wonder Woman’s, but I think it’d be better with a skirt! A little more coverage. And my 6 year old can also tune me out with a mirror. You should see her lose focus at gymnastics when she spots herself in the mirror. It’s like a magical blackhole. =)

  • Heather - She just makes me happy. Love your photos.

  • michele - I love your keen awareness and appreciation for your kiddos and your entire world. I have read your blog since 2009 and it seems as if you are even more sensitive and grateful than ever before. Thank you for sharing and please continue to let us see these glimpses of your life.

  • aneta - she looks like you!

  • Rebecca - Oh how I love to read your posts. Our girls are two of a kind. Feisty and sweet all rolled into one. I believe it has something to do with fantastic older brothers. :)

When Chris and I were in college, he would often tell me stories about another Chris – Chris Wheeler. Chris and Chris went to high school together. Chris Wheeler is a year older and made a significant impact on the life of my Chris. I’m pretty sure Chris Wheeler has made a significant impact on most who have had the privilege to know him. Many years later my Chris found himself working with Chris Wheeler’s dad (an amazing man). Through that relationship we were able to keep up a little bit with Chris, his wife Lindsey and their young daughter.

1602041_10152838148955400_1626554804_oWe celebrated with them from a distance when they became a mom and dad.

We listened to stories about them told by Chris’ proud parents.

Our hearts broke when we heard Lindsey was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Lindsey spends most of her days in pain. Countless tears shed. BUT she is choosing to love others despite her circumstances. Last spring she began collecting vintage bottles and filling them with the reminder of Psalm 56:8. Bottles of Tears was birthed out of Lindsey’s own tears. Now they are used to bring hope and comfort to the broken and hurting.

Last spring I ordered one for a dear friend facing unimaginable loss. I asked Lindsey if it would be okay if I shared about Bottle of Tears on my blog. I can’t imagine the constant pain she is living in, I get grumpy when I get a headache. I don’t know what it is like to live in pain like she does. I am so inspired by the way she is using her life – even her pain – to think beyond herself.
9.14bottleoftears-01

She sent me a Campbells bottle – it makes me happy, happy.9.14bottleoftears-039.14bottleoftears-05

I feel like I go through seasons when so many of those I love are facing really difficult times. Lots of tears shed. Lots of loss of hope and feeling forgotten. A good friend recently told me that when she walked a very hard road, it was little reminders that she wasn’t alone that meant so much – gift cards, notes in the mail, texts, etc. Maybe today you are reminded of a friend walking a bitter road…and maybe a little reminder is all you need to do something to help that person know they are not alone. A card in the mail. A text. A bottle with words of hope. A gift card. A meal dropped off. We usually can’t take pain away, but usually can do something to ease the burden even if it is tiny bit.

You can find out more of Lindsey’s story here.

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  • Jolene - Thank you for sharing this amazing story! I was so blessed!

  • Maloree - What a beautiful reminder this is and gift that can be shared with so many others. I want to encourage everyone with a beautiful chapter in Psalm that the Lord has used to be a vessel of comfort…

    “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you form every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”” -Psalm 91

  • Heather - Ashley-Thanks for sharing. My mom was diagnosed with Lyme Disease just a few years ago. It has been a long, lonely, difficult road for her. Not many people understand as they don’t see the physical affects. I don’t know that I fully understand it! I love Lindsey’s heart and reminder through this verse. I’ll be sure to share it with my mom!

  • Suzanne - The perfect find for a friend. I did not realize I was even looking but alas, god knew. She has been through so. Inch and has had to bury 2 dear friends in one year’s time. Tomorrow she does this to a friend who leaves behind 2 little girls but has been reunited with her husband in heaven. He drowned 9 years ago. She needs this bottle and Jesus. Thank you Ashley!

  • Suzanne - Oops! I was typing so fast I did not read before I submitted. “So much” not so inch. Please keep my friend in your prayers as she is feeling so lost with losing 2 dear ones in such a short time.

  • Mary Elizabeth Gaither - Beautiful. So beautiful. Ordering a bottle this morning…such a wonderful reminder of His love..even amidst the broken! Thank you for sharing.

  • Dana - I cried myself to sleep last night and this post is exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you!

  • marie - This is such a beautiful story. Such a wonderful gift idea too.
    Thank you for the link to her website!

  • Courtney Connelly - I treasure my my bottle as it is a gentle, beautiful reminder as I journey the painful road of my son’s death. My tears are remembered. Thank you Lindsey for this gift.

  • erin - as someone who has experienced deep and painful loss in the past, i can say you are RIGHT ON with this post.
    just *acknowledge* that you know someone is hurting…
    say SOMEthing…
    even if you’re afraid it’s the *wrong, dumb, clumsy, awkward* thing.

    because the only thing that hurts worse than the pain, is your acting like it isn’t there.

    love you.
    xo

  • susie - Lyme’s disease seems to be getting more and more common. :( My brother in law has it also.

  • Mary Helen Wheeler - Ashley, thank you so much for featuring Bottle of Tears on Under the Sycamore.
    You and Chris are both such a blessing and so are your children!
    Yesterday in the Castle your youngest’s class came in and sat down next to ours. I caught her eye and waved to her with a big smile. She smiled and waved back and I was thrilled! I was so happy that she recognized and remembered playing with me in room 14.????

  • Maureen - As a blogger (well, kind of) I know sometimes you post things and never really know if they touch people. I just wanted to tell you that two friends of mine lost family members this weekend so the timing of this post, for me, was perfect. Ordered this for both of them. Thx for sharing. Also wanted to say I loved your blog post about picking up your camera. I had been hesitating to publish a post b/c I was hoping to get “better” pictures. After I read your post, I published it anyway and it was something that meant a great deal to my family. So, thank you.

  • Julie - Ashley, thank you for sharing this. Just last week we learned the grown daughter of dear friends of ours has Lymes and so does her child. I think this will bless them.
    xx

  • Denise - What a beautiful idea. My old landlord’s teenage son was finally diagnosed with Lyme’s disease after years of misdiagnosis. His family has also suffered a lot because of it, especially the agony over a late diagnosis. It seems to be becoming more prevalent in the States, and I hope doctors start testing for it sooner if the symptoms match.

  • Eva - Ashley, I about fell over when I saw the photo of Chris and his family….I worked at Kanakuk Kamps (K-7) with Chris for two summers! I remember him being full of life and so in love with the Lord. He likely doesn’t remember me because I was a few (ahem) years older than most of the kounselors, but I sure remember him. I’m so sorry to hear about his wife Lindsey. What a beautiful gift she has created for those who need hope. I will be praying for her healing.

  • Sarah - SophieBugsMom - Lindsey and Chris are amazing… I think I may love all of you a little bit more (sorry if that sounds creeper) knowing that your families are connected. God Bless and prayers continue for our dear friend, Lindsey and Eliana.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh wow – that is truly beautiful. It is truly a blessed one who can offer up suffering for others.

  • tara pollard pakosta - I agree with your friend, the little things are helping me get through my husbands terminal brain cancer diagnosis. they send me texts, cards, fb messages, and sometimes giftcards and it means the world to me. I don’t know HOW I would have made it through actually without all of it! Well, we are still in the middle of it all as he is still fighting!
    tara