Woah…I think I might have not been too clear yesterday! I am not wrestling with stopping blogging, or instagram for that matter. Blogging has always been something I enjoy – it is a weird culmination of all the things that make up my days. I’ll keep blogging as long as I enjoy it, regardless if no one reads it but me! I had a difficulty verbalizing the tension I feel. A comment yesterday was able to word it so much better…here is her comment:

Audrey Assad penned one of my favorite lyrics, and it comes to mind here as I read your struggles with Instagram: “From a need to be understood / And from a need to be accepted / Deliver me” (from her song “I Shall Not Want”). Perhaps part of what it means to live with peace, even in the tension of it all, is being set free from that insidious fear of being misunderstood. It’s true that someone may see only a slice of your beautiful life on Instagram and come to different conclusions than those who follow your story more closely on the blog, but it seems to me the only thing you can control is how you conduct your life in real life and on the web (and in my opinion, you do this with vulnerability, honesty, humor, and hope). If you are misunderstood at times (and who among us isn’t?), could the freedom and peace come from accepting that and trusting this is actually normal and okay? Just some of my musings this morn…

The freedom from fear of being misunderstood.  Reading her words, I thought…yep that is it. I’ve watched countless blogging and instagram friends walk through horrible circumstances simply because someone somewhere misunderstood them. I’m sure you have seen it too. So, I guess that is my struggle with instagram – it is my quick snap happy, pretty place most of the time. There is a fear that those that only see my instagram would think my life is all rosey and perfect, or worse that I aim to portray that online. Life is truly good and for the most part I do find joy in everyday moments and things, my cup overflows – but there is more to the story than what that little square instagram picture portrays. However, Sara is right – I can only control how I conduct my life in real life and on the web. I’ll be misunderstood. I’ve been misunderstood. It will happen again. It happens to all of us. So, I’m going to let go of that fear. It is kind of dumb when you really think about it anyway.

Thank you for all your comments yesterday. I was hoping maybe 20 of you would give me a little insight – I was not expecting that response. That was a good…long cup of coffee that lasted all day.

Last week I mentioned I was wanting to learn more about hand lettering. You guys had so many good ideas and recommendations. Of course, I will be asking my sister for lots of tips. I’m also looking into some SkillShare classes. For now, I am just trying to copy by sight letters and words that catch my eye. It has become a relaxing way to end the day. Several artists online recommended focusing on one letter and writing it as many different ways as possible. I was going to do that, but I ran out of ideas…so I’ll just copy stuff I see for a bit!

2.15journal-01

Since I am on the topic of your comments, I am guessing not too many of you go back to read comments on old posts. I read every comment. I don’t respond as often as I’d like, but I read every comment. There were a few posts recently that you guys shared some really great ideas, so I wanted to highlight those posts. If you get the chance, the comments on these posts are full of so much goodness:

Coloring Outside the Lines  – lots of inspiring links regarding Bible journaling/art

Asparagus Pizza & Little Chefs – links and ideas regarding kids in the kitchen and recipes

Knock-Knock Jokes & Feeling Sad {Creating a Refuge} – beautiful ideas regarding creating a home that is a refuge

Thank you again for all your feedback yesterday!

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Bambi - Thanks! Cause we really want you to keep blogging :-) !!!

    Love and greetings from Italy,

    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.it/2015/02/inspiration-lately.html

    Bambi

  • Blair - i so admire your desire to be honest and understood, Ashley. Thank you for sharing your life here. I, for one, am inspired.

  • Angie Merchant - Thank you so much for your writings! It brings cheer to my mornings while sipping my coffee on these cold wintery days.

    Joy comes in the morning!
    Angie

  • Julie B - You really are just the best. Really. As a reader (and a once upon a time blogger) I struggle with Instagram because I miss blogs. I miss spending an hour reading my favorite bloggers. I’m so thankful you are going to keep blogging. I still love your posts and I love the way you approach life, mothering and blogging. It is refreshing for my weary full time corporate job plus three kids and a husband who also has a full time corporate job life. I absolutely live vicariously through the life you have built.

  • cheri - Thanks for inspiring me to go back to blogging!

    And … looking forward to hearing about learning to handletter. I SO want to learn how to do this!

  • Kerry - I’m sure a lot of the comments of encouragement yesterday have to do with the fact that so many bloggers have posted the “blogging/Instagram struggle” posts – and that they don’t want to quit blogging – but then vanish from their blogs almost immediately!! we just don’t want that to be YOU : )

  • Mrs.T - So happy to hear you will continue blogging. I am not on Instagram and your blog has been a wonderful blessing and encouragement to me so many times.

  • Liz - I love reading your words and hearing what’s on your heart. I love your IG, too. :)

  • Sarah - The fear of being misunderstood…I’d never heard that before. In a lot of my struggles, I think that’s what I’m afraid of. In needing to constantly feel like I need to explain my decision to others, that seems to be at the heart of my scramble for words. Why do we feel this way, because in the end we all want to be accepted for who we are? Than you for sharing that comment, something to ponder as I go through my days.

  • Kim B. - I remember that comment from yesterday and thinking it was so insightful. I wanted to hit “like” on it!!

  • Natalie Lacy Lange - I love Audrey’s response. It is so disheartening to read some of the comments left on IG and FB posts for some of the more popular writers/photographers. I’ve wondered how some of you balance wanting to read comments so you stay connected to readers versus not reading them just to protect yourself. I think you have to have a thick skin to put yourself out there. Thanks for being brave and sharing, and I’m sorry that some people are quick to abuse or misunderstand something that comes from your heart. xo

  • Kathi S. - Thank you for following up. I didn’t think you would stop blogging, but it’s nice to know how your thoughts continued to process and what spoke to you! That song by Audrey Assad…personal FAV!!!

  • Kristi - First let me say that I love reading your blog…while I am not a coffee drinker it is the first thing I read when I sit down to my computer….before Facebook and Instagram. Now, I think the problem with Facebook, Instagram and the like is that most everyone does post the rosy, happy pictures because hey, who wants to see what life is really like, right? I say wrong. I think that I love your blog so much because you do show some chaos and struggle and I think that whenever you would like to you can show that on instagram too. These pictures and blogs and what not are a record of our life…an online journal per se…it is ultimately for you to be able to look back and see what was going on in your life. I am a photographer too (maybe more hobbyist than professional) but I feel there is a need to be real and post pics of your dirty laundry stacked high and dishes in the sink and your kid crying right in the middle of it all because quite frankly that is life! If people have a problem with that and there will be then they can just move along. I LOVE coming to your blog and your Instagram and reading about your day. We are misunderstood in life all of the time but the freedom from letting it control what you post is amazing! God knows your heart and that is what matters! Push on and post on!! Looking forward to “coffee” time tomorrow! Have a very blessed day!!!

  • Tonya - I have followed your blog for years. Yours is actually the reason I started reading blogs in the first place. Your post from 3/2011 “filling my home with the unseen” has it’s own bookmark on my home screen. It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on what’s really important. Please know that for any negative or misunderstood comment you may receive, God is using you to impact hundreds (probably thousands) to see beauty in the mundane. We’ve seen the family photo with the empty chair as you waited to bring littlest home from China. We read as you struggled with all the adjustment that come from adoption and special needs, and we cried along with you and prayed for you. You have encouraged, inspired, and reminded us that life is a gift. Thank you for inviting us to be a part of yours :)

  • Amy T -Y - I’m a Hallmarker at HQ in Kansas City and we have a large and talented group of lettering artists on staff. It’s so fun to watch them work. All they do is hand letter all day! They (and other creatives at Hallmark) have a blog: http://www.thinkmakeshareblog.com/
    It’s awesome.
    If you follow the thinkmakeshare instagram page (link on blog above), there are videos posted last week of different artists hand lettering “love.”

  • Tanya - Hi Ashley, You inspire me! I love watching your momma heart as you share your treasured moments. I am a wife and momma of two little girls- 3yrs and 7 mo. I started following you on Instagram and on this blog. I rarely go on IG anymore- but Your posts and blog posts challenge and inspire me. In a way it’s a ministry that God blessed you with and used you to bless mommas like me! Thank you! Praying for you and your family! Keep running this race sister! Shine on!

  • Tiffany Higgins - I’m late to these 2 posts… now being a mom, my former (in my head) daily joining you at your table and reading your journey has become less daily but still regular refreshment. I just wanted to say that over the last 5 years I’ve read multiple blogs and yours is the only one I have continued to read regularly. The biggest reason for me is because you share your heart authentically and as a fellow follower of Christ, I am encouraged and challenged by how your family strives to serve where God leads you… however that looks. We adopted our first little one which just finalized in December and I’m currently cherishing my first pregnancy. As we are learning to be intentional parents, we have people in our lives we can emulate who lead their families with open hands into wherever they are called. I love reading how you and your husband do that yourselves and how you foster that in your children. All that to say, thank you for sharing authentically! God has used your journey to impact my family as well even without ever meeting you, that’s so crazy to me!

  • Sarah M. - So glad you’re sticking around ?? The lyrics you posted struck a chord in me. I just heard this song two weeks ago while practicing in order to sing it at church. Here’s a horrible video (but the sound is good) of the song. “From a need to be accepted” is a big thing for me. Hope you enjoy ??

    http://youtu.be/ojIo7pcvcjo

  • Haverlee - Such an interesting topic of discussion! I don’t have time to go back and read through all the comments on the previous post but I really love the comment you shared. Such great insight and advice. I agree with it. I’ve struggled a little bit about the same thing and it does make me a little sad that my blogging has somewhat gone by the wayside. But I realized in the end that I wanted to reach and encourage more people with my story and that meant sharing more of it through Instagram. I love how you started posting your weekly blog roundup on IG as a reminder for people. I thought that was a great idea. I don’t click over here nearly as much as I used to but when I do, it reminds me how much I love pouring over your “big camera” photos and it inspires me to pick mine up more often.
    Your hand lettering is beautiful. Your talents never cease to amaze me!!

  • Merry - Love Audrey Assad. Just curious- is that a vintage journal? I’d love to get one with graph paper. Awesome! We do CC too and I have to laugh that I just got into lettering as well. I swear I’m not copying you -I just figure great minds think alike! ????

  • AshleyAnn - Merry – it is my sketchbook from when I was tiny…the first drawing in it looks like I might have been 5 years old :) My mom found it in my old closet, most of it is unused

  • Amanda - I’m so very glad you plan on continuing this blog! I’ve been an avid reader for a few years now, and I’m always inspired. It’s so encouraging to see how you weave your faith and creativity into every aspect of your life while at the same time being honest enough to make it clear that you don’t always “have it all together”. My visit to your splendid corner of the internet has become very much a part of my day!

  • AngelaS - I’m trying to learn to not read comments in various places online because of so many negative or nonsense comments. I can’t imagine reading negative things being written to me about my thoughts, pictures, etc. I have recently joined a group of ladies that meet regularly. After every meeting I analyze my words and want to go back and explain myself better. I often worry about being misunderstood even though I most always give others the benefit of believing they mean well. I love your blog. Thanks for the links too. Sorry, pretty sure I just rambled and didn’t make sense. :)

My oldest son took this shot of me while answering SnapShop questions. My ‘office’ is so glamorous – pillow on the floor in front of the space heater.

2.15ig-01

The latest round of SnapShops ended on Saturday. The closing of each class is bittersweet to me. On the one hand – juggling life, homeschooling and teaching 2 courses is often overwhelming. The close of courses brings back a little breathing room.

On the other hand – for 4 weeks I get to know some of you that read my blog. Daily, I get to answer questions and share my love of what it means to capture everyday life. I get to see students’ pictures and peek into their daily lives. My online/blogging world becomes more 2-way and I so love that dialogue.  I get to watch photography ‘click’ and students go from feeling overwhelmed to excited about photography.

I really love teaching – that doesn’t mean I am good at it, but I do really enjoy it. I am passionate about photography – about this tool for slowing down my life and seeing every day as beauty waiting to be captured. I can’t describe how fun it is to me when a student tells me something makes sense for the first time or that a new passion has been ignited in their life. When I began blogging nearly 7 years ago, I could never have dreamed that I would get to come along others as they begin their photography journey.

Each time a SnapShop ends, I find myself a little reflective. I’m usually thinking about students, about this journey of teaching, about being online in general. I’ve been on social media for a while now. I started blogging right before it BOOMED (when everyone was reading blogs). I’ve kept blogging while is seems like everyone is ditching blogs for instagram.  I like blogging – probably because I like words and lots of photos! I have a love/hate relationship with instagram. I’m on instagram and really like the ease of quick picture posts. I like the challenge of capturing things with my phone and cropping them to a square. It is a treat to get to see the photos of others, but there is some stuff about instagram I don’t like. I kind of wish people could only follow my instagram if they read my blog, it would be far less people, but it would be those that ‘know’ me. I’d so prefer that option. This blog is my place where I really share me – my story, the overflows of what is going on in my heart and life.

This blog is just me. No assistants. No contributors. Just me and my randomness with words and photos.

I often wrestle with Instagram – how to be me – real & authentic – without it becoming a mini-blog.

I post primarily happy, pretty pictures to instgram because I often see it just as an extension of this blog – where the meat of life is. Yet, I realize far more people follow me on instgram than read this blog. Anyway…no bow to tie on this story. It’s just something I think about from time to time.

So, as I wrestle with that – I thought I would just ask you guys. I like to think of this as my virtual morning coffee with friends. So if we were sitting down for coffee this morning and I asked you about my tension with blogging/ instagram and what to share where….what would you say?

Some of my IG photos…because I like posts with pictures!

2.15ig-02

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • MJ Berklich - Ashley — You & I do have our morning coffee together. Every. Single. Day. Your blog is the first one I go to every morning. I’ve never commented before, so how would you know how much I love your Mama heart & getting a glimpse into your world via your camera & written worlds. YOU are such an inspiration & I’m so thankful you take your valuable time to share with all of us!

  • Nicole - I love your blog and have been following it for many years. I feel like I know your family even though we live in different countries (I’m in Australia). I only recently started following you on instagram and I must say that I enjoy the little snapshots as well. It is like a sneak peek to something I know you will share in detail later on the blog. :)

  • Melinda - Hi Ashley, I have followed your blog for years, and I also follow you on Instagram. I never comment, so I thought it was time to come out of hibernation to say I really love reading about your life and family. For me, Instagram feels like an extension of your blog but I love that you share on both platforms how you view the special moments within the everyday. I think that’s something we all need to look for :)

  • Southern Gal - I love blogging and I love your blog. To me blogging is a journal where I can keep up with this journey of life. (Ironically, today marks the 8th anniversary of my first post! I knew it was this month, but I had to look it up. ;)) And ironically, I just received my first smartphone in the mail yesterday. I have been waiting on a good phone with a good camera before I opened up an instagram account. I’ll be doing that today. I can’t imagine instagram taking the place of blogging in my life. I can see how the ease of posting photos with snippets of words would be much more convenient. When I get into trying to do both I would be able to give you my opinion. Right now I say keep blogging, saving the more in depth stuff for right here. If you were only on instagram I would have never been able to “meet” you here. Not everyone has instagram, but everyone can read blogs…unless they are private, of course.

    Sorry for the book length comment. Can you do that on instagram? ;)

  • Stacy MacLaren - Since I read your blog at 4:30 every morning before my feet hit the floor, I feel like you’re my consistent coffee date! I would say follow your heart…that was what you told us all in your class at Click Away. Know this, your words touch hearts & I’m so thankful they do.

  • Kelley - I had a slight panic attack when I read your title “wrestling with blogging.” I thought maybe you were done blogging. And that would leave a small hole in my days! I love love love your story and your blog. I follow your IG and feel like it’s an extension of the blog and sometimes a sneak peek. I took your snapshot a year and a half ago and feel like we are obviously best friends now. I love what you wrote because you are real and authentic. You love Jesus, your family, being a mom, and being creative… That totally is me too! With your kids being older than mine (he’ll be 2 on Friday), I feel like I’m being mentored by a mom who’s just a few years ahead of me. And I love it. Thank you for blogging and sharing. Please don’t stop. And next time you’re in Dallas, let’s go get a real cup of coffee together!

  • Allison - Ashley, I’ve been following your blog for years now. This is a place I come when I have time to sit, and read, and take a breath. And it is just that. A breath of fresh air. Someone to relate to emotionally as a fellow mom/daughter/sister/wife/friend/person. Someone to gain perspective from, gather new inspiration and ideas and just peek into the story of another’s life. Thanks so much for sharing your moments and for helping us capture ours. I for one am glad that true bloggers keep on blogging.
    I’m new to instagram this past six months and I have had the same thoughts about what to actually post or not post. I have had a blog for the past 6 years that I used to kind of keep a timeline of my families memories and the precious heirlooms of photos that I have tried to capture over the years. But I always meant to transfer those memories into photobooks. The years kept getting away from me and the blog kept going but the books never seemed to get made. So this year I’m leaving the blog behind so that I can keep up (at least, hopefully with the current year) and make a book for my kids to hold and enjoy.
    I was a student in your phone course this round and just wanted to say thank you for your expertise. I enjoyed the format, the information, the interaction with other students, and just the nudge to get out there and try some things. I’ll be drinking two handed coffee here with you for years to come, hopefully.

  • Shelley - Good Morning Ashley,
    If I were you, I wouldn’t change a thing. ‘This’ is a special place for those of us who meet here for our morning inspiration and tea :)
    Thank-you for sharing ????

  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - I would say I don’t have any advice. :-) I’ve been a blog reader much longer than an IG follower. And I love IG, but I’m disappointed that it does seem to be taking the place of some blogs. I am still a dedicated blog reader. I’m glad you aren’t one of the ones ditching your blog for IG.

  • stephanie - I think you nailed it as far as the difference between blogging and instagram. I follow your blog because I want to know ABOUT you – your adoption journey, your passion for fostering (as we are in those trenches now), homeschooling / CC lifestyle, etc. That’s how I get to know you. Instagram (which I follow some true friends through that outlet) is a place for me to be inspired of ways I can capture my days with nothing but my phone, which is usually the tool I have to work with at the time! And it’s good for me to capture and share usually what I’m thankful for – in the midst of a tough season, I can focus / zoom in on something small and make a note so I’ll remember that moment.

    (@stephanie.shepherd)

  • Kim - I’ve read your blog for over three years- since I was pregnant with my first. The pictures originally brought me to your page but the stories keep me coming back. I love to rejoice in seeing the joy and I’ve cried in seeing the beauty of some posts. The pictures of meeting Little One are some of the most honest photos I’ve seen. I’ve “followed” more and more blogs since then but yours is the only one that I don’t like to miss anything, especially if I see something on Instagram! I only know you through the small snap shots you give us of your life but I still feel if I met you in real life you’d be the same. Authentic and real. Keep on doing what feels best for you. And pour me some coffee!

  • Simone - I have read your blog for years now and I do also follow you on Instagram. Your Instagram makes me smile, and I love peeking into your everyday life but your blog makes me think. Your blog inspires me and at times motivates me but the biggest difference for me is that it challenges my thinking. A single picture on Instagram doesn’t give me that. I love reading your blog Ashley, I hope that you never stop writing or taking your beautiful pictures, or daring us all to think in a different way.

  • Holly F - Love your blog & your pictures but rarely comment. This post made me realize I wasn’t following you on IG so I immediately fixed that. :) I totally get what you mean. I don’t like it when random people comment on or even like my IG pictures. I usually block them if they do that. It feels like there should be a setting between Private and Public on there, like Facebook has. But I do love IG for the quick photo editing & posting. But I also love how you explain things here and getting to know you & your family from afar on the blog. So I like both mediums.

  • Tammy Kay - I’d say, “I want to love blogging and be good at it. Not for others but as a record keeping journal.” I’ve never been good at keeping it going. Maybe you could post a blog challenge. That may be fun. Challenge people to begin to read blogs again. I’d also say that I love your blog. Yours is pretty much the only one I read nowadays. I have a love/hate relationship with IG. When I do comment on some of the more known people and ask questions or just a general “hi” I am often left feeling like I’m sitting in the lunchroom all alone. Not sure if that makes sense. I think it is too easy to feel connected to someone just because we see pretty pictures of their daily lives while in reality, we don’t really know them at all. I’m preaching to myself. :) I love your blog because it is inspiring. I can look at a craft or a diy that you have made and say, ” I can do that too!” As well as feel a connection.

  • Julie - Ashley,

    I first came across your blog years ago when I was searching for boy crafts. I found your blog with little cute dough lego men moulded in a lego ice cube tray. Amazing!! We made those little lego men and ever since then I’ve been hooked to your blog. If I had time to read just 1 blog a week it would be yours. Your photos are amazing (just finished your snapshot course????), your crafts are inspirational and your family are so fun.

    Now, I know this doesn’t answer your question……. but please don’t ever stop blogging.

    Julie

  • donya - I’m both a blog reader and a blog writer, so maybe this explains why I think what I do, but unless it’s a large company, I follow both people’s blogs and instagram feeds. I may not have every single one in my blog reader, but I will visit their blog from time to time to at least catch up (usually these are blogs that are posted to less frequently).

    I’m not sure why someone would want to only follow your Instagram and not your blog. Time? Ease? I do find that a lot of people don’t know how to use blog readers like Feedly or Bloglovin, which can be viewed on phones, just as easily as an Instagram feed.

    I think IG and blogs fill very different needs. Some people do just like happy pictures to scroll past and double tap. Or some use it as a blog reader and click over to blog posts that way. I like it as sort of a “behind the scenes” of the bloggers I read about, and I think you do a great job of that. Blogs are far more in depth. Longer stories, tutorials, MORE photos (which I love), the ability to pin it to Pinterest (!), etc.

  • kassondra - I have been reading your blog for about 6 years now. You turned me on to instagram and I finally got to attend one of your classes this last round. I hAve to say I love seeing your pictures on my feed but I will drop almost everything when I see you posted a blog post! Hopefully you figure out what’s best for you. My instagram is for everyday pictures, my big camera is for more life mile stones or planned out sessions. My blog is for when I want to explain more about what I’m feeling with the pictures, Facebook is for family and friends. The only people I follow on instagram are photographers or people that inspire me with their photos.

  • Audrey Ann - I don’t often comment on your blog but wanted to with this one! I think you have the balance just right – longer posts on your blog and an image with a few words on IG. I’m very new to instagram, but I know that generally when I see something on there from you, I can come over to the blog and get the “full story”!

  • Ranee - I have been reading your blog for a long time, I took a snapshop course a few years ago, and I follow your Instagram feed. I don’t really have a neat and tidy answer to your question, but I do know that I so appreciate your blog, that I do feel like I know you (without really knowing you), and that I am thankful for the wise words and beautiful photos you inspire me with. You love your family well and I appreciate your constant self-reflection. Keep writing and blogging and instagramming, friend.

  • Suzanne - Ashley, every morning I sit down with a yummy cup of coffee after all the kids and my husband have been sent out the door to,school, work, etc. I get in my comfy chair and I “visit” with you. It is quiet, solo, and just me time. I enjoy our time together. About Instagram, I am not a social media person and so for me, blogs are just as you described. A chance for you to share, visit, and reflect with those closer to you. In this fast paced world, Instagram is just that. Perhaps a quick way for those who know you to get a glimpse into your daily life, a pick me up for some, but your blog is the true meat of it all. Keep it up, I will too (the morning visits) and treasure your space heater!!

  • Hanna - Hi Ashley,
    I read your blog and check on your Instagram feed from time to time. It feels like an extra bonus to have some glimpse of your daily life. I was happy, when you included your weekly “whats on the blog” compilation in your IG. Not because I can see what you’ve blogged (nearly always I’ve read your blog post before I see them highlighted on IG), but because I hope IG followers go to your blog. But if they don’t: So what? But for real..THEY miss the good stuff!!

  • Jennifer - Ashley, I love your blog. It’s one of the few I read and make time for. Your words have resonated so many times I’ve felt the tension of mothers taking sides and wanting to speak grace to them (I love when you say, “I’m for moms.”). It’s kind of weird being on this side and you not knowing us, but us knowing you and loving you and your family. Your words about the tension with IG make so much sense. Hopefully it will naturally resolve with time, but i think you’re right to feel that an IG pic can’t convey what a blog post does. And I really love your blog posts.

  • Lorraine - I totally understand the tension there. I personally don’t think it can take the place of a good, comfy blog (which yours is)! I love to see the little snippets that IG offers, but the blog spot is definitely a better place for deeper community! My problem with IG is that it gives access to sooooooooo many great people, it’s hard to keep up, makes me want to know them all better, but who has time for those kinds of numbers. I have my absolute favorites and those are whose blogs I follow. Keep doing what you’re doing :)

  • Erin - I love your blog! I used to have 10-20 that I “subscribed” to, and now I’m down to 1 – yours! My cousin even emailed me to see if I’d heard of your blog bc she just knew I’d love it :-) I’ve tried multiple times to get into Instagram and it just hasn’t clicked with me. So I have it, and I think I follow you, but I never look at it.

  • Jess - Ashley, I just want to encourage you to do what feels natural to you. Don’t compare. You are doing a great job. There are many people I follow on IG, whose blogs I do not read – I don’t want to read them. You are not one of those. I want to read yours because it teaches me to be content where I am and realize that it’s temporary. I often think of you when I do the dishes..all because of that post one day. I work on a marketing team and we are on a journey through social media – it’s very interesting to see how the public responds to our company through the variety of platforms. So, professionally speaking, I can say that some good advice that was given to me is, “Know your platform and use it appropriately.” That said, IMO, IG is not appropriate for blogging. I really really enjoy your blog and your IG, and I will keep reading if you keep posting.

  • Roianne - I found your blog about 6 years ago while working a late shift in a call center. I have been hooked ever since. I love checking in daily to see what you and your family are up to. I appreciate your honesty on here and seeing the ups and downs of family life. I have found comfort and inspiration through your blog. I just got on instagram in the last year and also catch glimpses of your life on there as well. I love instagram for the ease but I usually end up hopping over to read up on blogs if the person has one.

  • Ann Bennett - Please don’t stop instagramming! I’m terrible about consistently reading any blog even though I try to remember to read yours. I love that with Instagram I can stay up-to-date with all my friends’ lives through pictures.

  • Erin - I have been following for quite some time, and I love reading your blogs! You’re pictures are beautiful, but I love reading the story behind them. Hope you have a great day!

  • babs - ashley,we have never met ,but i call you my “my friend ashley”.all of my actual friends and family know who im speaking of and accept
    this fantasy relationship.your blog inspires me everyday to be more in the moment and see the beauty of Gods creation in everyone and everything.you give me the gift of “slowing down”.i also follow instagram for what i consider bonus shots. i have four olympus OM1 camera bodies and various lenses.(yes, i’m that old)each has some broken part. reluctantly i joined the nikon digital world and Iphone photography.ive learned so much from your blog. this is my chance to say thank you for your real presence in my life.

  • Stephanie T - Your blog is you. That is where your heart, family, and stories are. You need to look at Instagram as a place to share your beautiful photography with the world. It doesn’t have to tell a story.

  • LeeH - I’ve never thought of Instagram as similar to a blog. I use it to show my followers something funny or beautiful I captured on my phone. It’s a quick and easy way to share my day. I suppose many people are too busy to read a blog but maybe if your Instagram posts had less description, people would be drawn to the blog to learn more and would then learn more about you as well.
    Please don’t misunderstand, I really like your blog and have coffee with you every morning, but I’m not so interested in what you post on Instagram because it’s redundant. Perhaps if Instagram was more cryptic, readers would know what you’re showing us and non-readers would want to find out.
    Just my opinion, cheers!

  • JenW - I’d say that no one online-only can really know the real you. The way your IRL friends and family do. It’s just not possible. However, I think you make a good effort at it here on the blog. I feel like I do have a sense of what the heart of Ashley is. I don’t think it’s important that every bit of social media tells your complete story. Again, it’s just not possible. So long as you keep what you share genuine and real within the confines of that media platform I think you’re doing good. You don’t share very staged and “fake” pictures and try to pass them off as your real family life on Instagram. You share real pictures you take over the course of the day. I don’t even “do” Instagram and I know this is true. If you’d like your Instagram followers to get more of the back story and get to know you better can you direct them to the blog? Caption photos with something like “for the story behind this pic visit http://www.ashley….”? Not sure how Instagram works altogether, but perhaps this would encourage people to come to the blog and get to know you more.

    And, I’ve said it before, but thanks for the time and effort you put into the blog. It’s been very inspirational for me and a good witness.

  • Amanda - I just wanted to throw out to you that I only follow your blog as I am not on Instagram. I like to read into the deep and thus prefer blogs. I love reading yours each day!

  • Tiffany - I popped into your blog a long time ago and just recently added it into my feed. I like to visit and see your perspective on photography and life. Ya see, I’m a city girl (Philly area), so it’s fun to read about and see your country life & style. But, I am not on Instagram, and to be honest, I really struggle with social media. I’m on fb and I love to see how it can be used for good, but the time suck, the comparing, the humble brags and blatant bragging. I can do without, just being honest. So I understand your conundrum and I think it’s important to find a healthy balance, and that sweet spot is different for us all. Good Luck.

  • Michelle - I have been reading your blog for 7 years. In all of that time I have had so much respect for how you present yourself and your family online. While we have a lot in common, what keeps me coming back is your integrity and authenticity. Your IG feed is great… And feels very you. For what it’s worth I think you are doing a great job.

  • Sandy - I’ve been following the blog at the recommendation of a friend for 2-3 years now. One of the reasons I joined instagram is because my friend mentioned that Ashley was on there and shared more fun and beautifully photographed pictures. After resisting, I finally joined and I’m glad I did. I consider instagram to be kind of like the movie to the blogs that I read. They’re fun but never cover the depth of crafting, life, and photo journalism, so to speak, that I find in my favorite blogs. Having tried a couple of times to keep a blog, I know that it’s a huge time commitment and a talent that I simply do not possess. I follow your blog posts and actually use your blog like an encyclopedia for crafting projects, decorating ideas, photography tips, and sometimes I just revisit favorite posts if I’m trying to remember something you wrote that speaks to me! Obviously, I very much enjoy your blog- and I like Instagram too ;)

  • Sierra - I have been reading your blog for a few years now. I started reading it around the time that your oldest daughter broke her leg. I love getting to know about your family and I cried so many happy tears for all of you when you brought your youngest daughter home. I also follow you on Instagram. I feel like following you on there gives us a little something extra. However, if you decide to get rid of your Instagram I will still be here reading your blog every day. :)

  • Sarah - I love the blog, I look forward to your blog posts everyday! I feel like IG is just a bonus. Keep up with the blogging!!

  • logan - I love seeing both. Sometimes I feel like instagram can be more personal, seeing everyday snippets in people’s real lives. But your blog is good at that too. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your IG. Just keeping doing everything the same!

  • Jelena - I dont like instagram for pro purposes, but more for private/personal ones. Pictures for family and friends where we can see each other’s daily snippets. Especially if we don’t live close by. I understand many use it for proffesional promotion, but I honestly don’t see benefit in that. My internet time is precious, and if I read your blog I won’t go on instagram and follow there as well. I appreciate more than 1 photo thats posted there. And I read your blog and that is where in my opinion real value is.
    P.S. I understand that for many people instagram is free marketing, I am just explaining from my point of view- I am short of time and I read your blog because it gives me happy vibes (I guess that sums up inspiration, photography improvement, kids ideas, house DIY). Instagram does not.

  • Becca - Oh my, when I first started reading this I thought you were going to say you were quitting blogging and just going to stay on instagram. My heart was about to stop! I don’t have any advice, but that I think you do well having instagram just be an extension of your beautiful life.
    I know that putting so much of your family ‘out there’ is actually a big deal. But it’s just that, a ‘big deal’ to those who read your blog. Your blog gives me something to work towards. A constant reminder that I am not the only one who struggles to put my children and my faith first before the world. And your life is beautiful, and I like that. And I like learning that my own life is beautiful too.

    Thank you.

  • erin - Your blog is one of my very favorite morning coffee stops. To me, blogs like yours–the honest ones–are more like the scrapbook that you painstakingly put together because you want to remember every detail. IG is more like the photo box where you toss your photos because who has time to scrapbook every day :) Different people read and follow for different reasons. The people that really want to feel a connection–as a woman, wife, mother, etc.–will come to get the rest of the story. If you’re staying true to your heart with what you post, whether it’s on your blog or IG, I think you’re on the right path. People feel inspired in different ways, and I think it’s great you give readers different avenues for that. I, for one, am grateful.

  • TRACY - I have followed your blog you over 4 years now and I am so encouraged by it! Since moving to Italy with the IMB a year ago it has been something that reminds me just a little bit of home. It is one of the few things that I allow myself to read in English while learning Italian. I love your honesty and rawness in sharing, and sharing of your faith. I also follow your Instagram and like others have said I enjoy the little “snapshots” you provide on there as well. Follow your heart and know that you are an incredible blessing to so many!

  • Courtney - I am an Instagram lover, because I think it’s so fun to see snapshots of people’s lives, and I agree it’s a fun challenge to artfully capture something in a tiny square. So I think it has its place, but more as a scrapbook to flip through. The blog is where we really get to know you and interact with you and learn from you. I understand the tension, wishing that people would follow your blog and go to that more in depth place rather than just skim the surface on Instagram. I’ve tried to cut down on who I follow on Instagram for that reason. If I don’t have the time to invest my time reading their blog, I feel like it’s a little weird to flip through their family photos!

  • Krystal - I would tell you to do what feels right. The numbers don’t matter….it’s what you love doing that really counts. I love reading blogs and would hate for them to go away. I’m like you….love the words that come with it. But if you feel like sharing on IG a quick photo you took go for it! IG is just another creative outlet. It’s a place I enjoy and if you do too then don’t question it….just enjoy it for what it is.

  • Ellen - Ashley, I love your blog and I love that you think like this. I do feel like I’ve gotten to know you, reading over the past few years. Your family has inspired mine many times. I love having you on Instagram, but mainly because I “know” you through your blog and so the photos on IG have context. Your IG stream is beautiful, it just means a lot more in context. Thanks for doing both… I live following you and you are such an encouragement!

  • theresa - Your blog is my first go-to in the morning!! I too like the combination of words and pictures that you share. It is the only place I visit before I start my daily regimen. Thank you thank you!!

  • Sarah - I would say to do what feels right. I do love seeing your pictures on Instagram, but I prefer blogs. Hearing the story behind the picture is what matters to me. If this is a decision you are wrestling with many times over, I think you’ve found your answer. On the other hand, it may lead people to your blog – and I know I’ve learned so much from you through the years. Good luck, just stay true to who you are!

  • Tracy R. - Good Morning! Ahhh, so many thoughts run through my head! For me, there are very few IG accounts I follow who don’t have a blog that I follow or are a family member/ friend. IG is a snippet of one’s life to share. But, I prefer more in a relationship. So, IG is just not fulfilling to me without the meat of a blog or relationship. IG is a way to stay connected with those I care about. You are more in the public eye than me so I realize you juggle more perspectives with all those around you. So, with that being said, strictly share publicly what you are comfortable with and you will have no regrets. I know it is more complicated than that but sometimes reminding ourselves of the basics and not thinking too hard can help. I think you do an amazing job of this already and that is one reason why your blog IS MY FAVORITE! There are so many ways you have stepped into my life and made a difference by your phone course and through your blog that I hope someday I get to a chance to contribute to the “relationship”.

  • Linda - Your blog is the first one I read each morning. Let’s see what do I love about your blog? Heart, color ,real, family, love, color, honest, sunshiney, creative, color!! Yes I do enjoy instagram but it has nothing on a good blog. Instagram can be too much like so much of life today, replacing quick and instant for real. I love words and stories and heart and your blog is all of these things plus so much more. Thank you for sharing yourself!

  • Amanda - Im having my coffee with you right now. I love your photography, but it’s your words that keep me coming back every morning. Your blog is voice of a friend I wish i had IRL.

  • Lucy - I don’t have a blog. But I do instagram. I like instagram because the people who follow me are my actual friends and family and I don’t feel like I have to explain things. They can understand a picture because they know my family and my kids and what I’m thinking. I hardly put any words with it because no explanation is needed. So I understand your desire to have instagram followers follow your blog. When we read your blog we feel like we know you and we can understand your pictures without a lot of explanation. I don’t know what the point of that is. Just to say that I understand where you are coming from. And to thank you for letting us feel like your friends :)

  • AmandaK - I can’t remember how i first found your blog, but I’ve kept coming back and reading since. I also live in Oklahoma, albeit the opposite end and side of the state.
    I only recently followed your Instagram.
    I like reading your blog, seeing your pictures, and being inspired by your “Faith in Action” also. I only get a portion of that in IG.
    Keep blogging. I’ve enjoyed getting to ‘know’ you.

  • Jen Y @ brokentequila - I follow you on both platforms and enjoy what you post on both. I’m a blogger, mostly for family that’s not local and IGer and have the same issue. What to post where and do people get sick of seeing the same thing in two spots. I just finished your phone class and has changed how I use IG for sure! I would rather post less in order to only post pics I’m proud of and that are well composed than post every little thing I’m doing. I’m trying really hard to use IG as the small picture of what’s going on in our life and use the blog to expand on and share the details. I also now try to take pics of our going’s on that work as a square for IG, but then take other pics of the same event or activity that will be used on the blog and not confined to the IG square. I really love both formats. Sometimes I don’t have time for full blog post reading (waiting in checkout lines at Costco) but IG helps pass the minutes while I’m waiting, other times I want to set with my coffee and get caught up on the blogs I follow. It’s nice to have both!

  • D Herredsberg - Honestly, I follow both of your feeds and I’m not sure I would necessarily “trade” one for the other. If I was completely honest, I prefer following your blog, it’s one of the first places I go when I turn my computer on in the morning. I enjoy the stories behind the pictures it is like a “meal” for my soul. Instagram is more like an “afternoon snack”. A quick glimpse or break in the day. I grew up without brothers or sisters, so I enjoy seeing how your children act and relate to one another.

  • Sonja B. - I can understand your struggle. I use to read A LOT of blogs, like it was taking over my life, I loved each one for different reasons and content. I had to step back, I mean I have a 9-5 and my blog reading was intruding that. At the same time blogging and instagram were intermingling and over crossing and I was just ramp-ping up on instagram myself so I started following a lot of bloggers on instgram as well. I still read some but only a handful of blogs now that I purposely seek out of my blog feed. Your pictures on instgram are just a glimpse into your stories! I have seen people post loooong descriptions with their photos on instagram and on instagram I mean LONG so they do end up being mini blog posts. I don’t see what is wrong with that. Heck I even had dreams of doing a blog at one time and tried it for a while but I just didn’t have it in me. So I can see how some people naturally move over to instagram. With that said. Remember how I said I only read a handful of blogs now and that I purposely seek the ones I like…..well that’s you kid! I get sooo much out of your honesty and real life sharing! Your blog seems to offer so much more then others, to me anyways! It’s everything all in one. Real life family/mommy/craft stuff and photography all rolled up! So do what you think is right for you! But if I so humbly can make a suggestion…. I don’t know what come first with you and your process, is it blog and then share to instagram? Or instagram that you end up sharing some one your blog? One thing I have seen a lot of bloggers and small business do on Instagram is they share but don’t share so much and then they say, more on the blog, blog link in bio, maybe you can post on instagram and then redirect to the blog more? Anyways. Love your stuff, love you and God Bless!

  • Leah Heffelfinger - Don’t stop blogging! I’ve been following you for about 5 years, I love your openness, realness, and creativity. I still follow plenty of blogs, and I hope they don’t go away with the use of Instagram or other outlets. In fact, I think blogging started out as a medium to express ones thoughts in words, and peaked at a point when things became too commercial, those that couldn’t hang with the big dogs are dropping out, but those that stuck with the original purpose of blogging (IE telling stories, truthful writing, being true and open with your readers) are the ones that are retaining their followers. And this is definitely one of those great blogs. Keep on keepin on!

  • Trish - I absolutely prefer to sit and read a blog as opposed to IG. To me it’s about getting to know someone. You do mostly post happy stuff in your life but at times when we share those true life moments; the good, bad, and ugly, that happen it makes us all connected and relate to each other. We have obviously never met but I know that in OK there are people I relate to. Keep it up, you’re doing great!

  • Kerry - I think it would be so sad if one form of social media completely wiped out another one. Especially when it comes to blogging. I hope everyone doesn’t end up ditching their blogs altogether! if your heart is in it, and blogging brings you joy, I say stick with it. Look how many comments share the love for your blog!!

  • Tam - I love both your Blog and your Instagram. What you share in those two places are fantastic. Instagram to me is a window into my daily activities. Blogging is the heart and soul of my life.

  • Jaime - Your blog is one of my happy places. I enjoy the random lightness, and the serious REAL posts. The great thing about technology is how it is ever changing. Because of this at some point people will be leaving instagram for the next thing. So do what makes you happy. If you follow that you will never go wrong.

  • Maegan C - Keep blogging- instagram only gives us a small snapshot of your life! I enjoy reading and following along and with you and your family!

  • Amber - Hi Ashley! You and I have morning Diet Pepsi (that is my ‘coffee’) every day. I have laughed and cried and prayed with you over so many things. I definitely think a greater connection happens through a blog. While I love instagram, I really love reading my blogs. I miss the bloggers that have stopped and wonder how they are and what is new in their worlds. I find myself skimming through my instagram feed and focusing on the folks whose blogs I also read. Those are my ‘friends’. I follow other folks, but usually just for the eye candy. So…really, I enjoy both. I love blogs for the deeper relationship they bring and the greater story telling, but I love instagram for the quick updates and peeks.

  • Becky - Ashley, every day when I open your blog I think of it as catching up with my friend. I love how real you are with your struggles and life, yet remind me to savor every moment. My oldest “baby” is graduating high school this year and although I’d love to have gorgeous photos like yours – I adore all the photos I do have. I have tried to capture everyday moments of my kids since they were born. It became very real as we looked through all those photos to pick some for her yearbook pages. If we were together this morning, I’d encourage you to keep blogging and teaching SnapShop. Keep helping others to savor the everyday. Keep casually mentioning our Savior and being an advocate for the little ones. I love Instagram and follow you there too. I see where people tag other people to your Instagram feed. This can lead them to your blog. I did love how we could wish your son Happy Birthday and he could see how far reaching the well wishes came from. I understand your love/hate relationship but today, I’d encourage you to keep on keeping on.

  • Sara - I love following your blog. Seeing your love for your children helps me to strive to be a better mom. If only Instagram would let me follow you too…every time I try, it doesn’t let me!

  • Allison - It’s a weird but great world we live in. I am an instagram user, a former blogger, and a FB user. I stopped blogging regularly a couple years ago, mostly because we were having such a hard time in our family, I didn’t want to post sadness, but I didn’t want to post a bunch of happy pictures and be a hypocrite. I think you should do what you feel comfortable doing. I personally prefer reading blogs rather than looking at Instagram. Things in my family are better now, and I may just start up again. Your blog was and is always a bright spot in my day. Thanks for all your beautiful pictures and stories!

  • Tracy - Yes, I wait for your blog every. single. day. I am sad for the weekends.

    I see this blog as your home base, and I check in on Instagram every couple weeks, to see what you have been doing ‘in the meantime’. I don’t do instagram, i don’t understand it. :/

    love the way you blog and parent. love your pictures. thank you for your blog.

    <3

  • Irene Wiranata - I’ve been following your blog since Firecracker was not born and you were prepping for her nursery room. I’ve bookmarked many many blogs but yours is the one that I always open every day/ every other day. Keep coming back because your blog is honest, along with beautiful pictures and great messages about life. Plus, I really like the way you love your family and instill such good values in their life since young age. I also joined your last Snapshop SLR course because I love your photography style so much! I would say you should keep blogging because its so you! But IG is also good for fun too!

  • Jen - You’re my morning coffee date too :)

    I think you’re doing it exactly right. I think of Instagram as a little bulletin board…here’s a snapshot into my day, but blogs are the family album, full of photos, memories, etc.

  • Kendra - I think blogging is going through a natural progression. The cream is rising. So, while there may be fewer overall blogs and readers, people keep commitments to the blogs that speak to them. It’s not that I don’t read blogs anymore, it’s that I only read a few blogs now, and they are the ones with ‘that thing’ you can’t explain. IG is totally different for me. I come here for your words as much as your images; they clarify for me my own reflections, invite me to think about new things, and give insight into your photography that helps me with my fledgling hobby. Thanks for inviting feedback. One of the many things this community values about you.

  • Jes - I followed your blog first and love seeing your IG photos, would hope that anyone seeing those would feel compelled to read more about your story in your blog. You are truly inspiring! (And please don’t stop doing Snap Shops, I reallllly want to take one of your courses when life slows down a bit for me–although I suppose now would be the best time to learn to capture these memories ha,)

  • Peggy - I have to admit I am one of the ones who has ditched blogging for instagram. Well that isn’t exactly true… I had already cut back on my blogging due to circumstances in our life. The blog was about (and still is because I do post once in a blue moon) our lives, a sharing of what was going on. Lets just say I don’t have the freedom to share what was and is on my heart as it isn’t just my story to tell for now. Ironically I LOVE reading blogs so much so that I had to sit down a few months ago and take a serious look at whose blogs to continue following, which ones spoke to my heart. All of this to say I like both as I am a very visual person and I adore your pictures… its like a being able to experience a small snippet of someone’s life… especially when its someone you have already “meet”. Does any of this make sense?! Ha ha!

  • Debbie H - Wow – what an explosion of comments– I’m with many of the others. I go to your blog FIRST and instagram is a BONUS! I too start my day checking your site and am SO grateful you have a consistent pattern to posting. I love the randomness of your insights to your life, teaching, schooling, sports, adoption – all of it. You do a great job showing the fun, wide variety of life with 5 kids. I do follow a few other bloggers on instagram – where their blogs are not as interesting as yours — I think that is the difference. Your blog posts are really above so many others. Great writing, wonderful variety in subject matter. Please don’t struggle. Just continue and move forward but keep blogging! You’re all good! :) AND I’ve found so many other artists, goods – so many causes and unique finds just because of your blog. I know I’ve told you that before. SEVENLY, Dignify, Leslie, ColeFranks, I can’t even remember them all – but there are many. If the instagramers can’t get to your blog – especially with your weekly photo recap — they are LOOSING OUT! :) Stay warm. Spring will be here soon.

  • Marie - Hi Ashley! I would say keep doing what you’re doing! I love coming to your blog to read a bit more about your life, diy, & seeing your great pictures! I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon your blog- but it’s been so fun. I took your dslr class last spring & am so thankful for the continued tips I find here. It’s encouraging coming to a place online that just feels real! I love how you share your options, faith & life in a way that doesn’t judge others. It’s just you & you encourage others to “just be you”! I love that! I hope in these comments you find encouragement. Social media is a strange place where people have no filter sometimes.. Which is so sad. Hopefully more people will come to check out the blog instead of casting their opinions. I do love how you highlight what’s been on your blog- I think that’s so wise to put that out there on Instagram- so others can be reminded to check out the whole story! Thanks for sharing & inspiring me & so many to live life well & really embrace whatever season of life your in! :)

  • susie - Your blog is my favorite one to read too! I always check it when I drink my coffee in the morning! I have been trying to get in the habit of sitting down after the breakfast mess is cleaned up- but that is not happening!

  • SueY - Sweet Ashley, you are my morning “coffee” with a friend! Every day! Your beautiful insight and images brighten and lift my spirit. Thank you!

  • Heather - I like Instagram and blogs for their differences. Instagram is something I visit and use when I don’t have a lot of time or to just flood my brain with lovely images for a brief time. I love blogs when I’m sitting with my morning coffee and have time to enjoy the stories that go along with the pictures. My own blog is mostly about our family and I started it to keep our distant family members updated on what we were up to. I really do love reading blogs and would be sad if they all went away due to Instagram. While I love a pretty picture, it’s just such a small piece to a much larger puzzle. I definitely don’t expect bloggers to blog daily for my enjoyment, though, so I guess that’s why Instagram is also great – it can be great “filler.”

  • amber - Your blog is one of my most favorite things online. It has been for a very long time. It would be like losing a friend (one I’ve never met, but truly appreciate) if/when you ever decide to step away from this place. Your instagram feels very much like a small glimpse into what you bring here. People should catch on over there! There’s my 2 cents;)…

  • sharee a - I took your online class 3 years-ish ago? and you were an AWESOME teacher…everything clicked for me and now I love teaching my friends tidbits. I don’t know about the instagram thing, but I do know the LORD uses your blog to give this momma of five kids ten and under, who homeschools, does CC in Wisconsin, loves crafts and photography, GREAT encouragement everyday during her little coffee break:) I love your honesty and positive outlook…you remind me of David in the Bible, who loves God, is real about struggles and seems to end with God’s Truths about what really matters about life on earth and the hope of heaven. Thanks for being my friend online, I would totally wanna be an in-person friend to you if I could:)hugs

  • Shannon W. - Your blog is the first thing I pull up in the morning once I get to work and get my coffee. Your blog reminds me to adds color (literally) into my life. Without seeing all your colors, all your bright inspiring photos, I wouldn’t be the same. I have grown up and live in Tulsa and when I found your blog several years ago before you adopted your daughter I was so excited and proud to have a fellow Oklahoman have such a popular blog that is based on family and God. For this reason, I feel like I have some connection with you, weird since we don’t know each other at all. I prayed for your family and checked in on your blog daily (some days with tears) through your adoption and the subsequent struggles. I had a love of photography before finding your blog and you’ve inspired me to grow with my camera and document my family and our life. I took your phone photography course a while back (because I cannot afford your DSLR class) and liked it so much I gave it as a gift to my sister in law. Since then I also follow you on instagram as well as your sister. You all have such an amazing family built on love, togetherness, true values and God. I think you are so brave for how you share your life and words on your blog and social media. One day I hope we happen to bump into each other! I might be a little star struck and want to take a selfie with you!! LOL!!

  • Shelly Dennison - What about doing less picture posts on IG and more of your “on the blog this week” posts?? If folks want to keep up with you, they can take the time to follow the blog! Plus, they’re really missing out anyway if they aren’t following :)

  • michelle - I started reading your blog about a year and a half ago. I remember when I first stumbled upon it, I stayed up until 2am that night reading all of your posts. Your views on life, family, friends, religion, etc.. really spoke to me, inspired me, and pretty much helped me to change my life for a better purpose and good. Your blog is the first thing I read in the morning. Sometimes I even check back a little later in the day in the hopes there is a bonus post waiting for me, hee hee.
    Your family is THE definition of beautiful. In every way. I love pictures of your children, and that’s why I especially love your IG account. They are bonus photos from your blog and extra snippets of your beautiful world.
    Social Media in general is its own beast. It has pros and cons and regardless what your purpose is with social media, you have to be prepared for negative comments and feedback. Because that is just how the world is. And there is nothing that we can really do to change that expect simply not be on social media. But then thats not really fair to those who do really appreciate and value what you put up for us to read.
    It just comes with the territory. Im so appalled with how ruthless some people can be. It reminds me of the ugly in this world. But your blog, your family, your IG account, your thoughts…it reminds me of the BEAUTY in this world and I appreciate you making yourself a little vulnerable, to bring us this beauty everyday.
    from the bottom of my heart, thank you for what you do.

  • Tracy - I love blogging…it’s an outlet. Sometimes I feel so isolated in a busy world. And there I have a voice. MY voice.

    Instagram is a different place. it’s a window, for passerbys to look in while their lives go by yours.

    But a blog, someone has to STOP by and sit a spell. And get to know YOU!

    Funny, story at one time my blog was so popular that my Hubby met a lady at a conference in another state. She kept looking at him and even said I KNOW you from somewhere??? She finally figured it out it was from my blog! LOL She was a reader and recognized him. HILARIOUS!

  • Kate - Your blog is the first one I read and look forward to every day. I enjoy all the beautiful photos, craft ideas, etc. but the main reason is because you are so passionate about your family and loving them well. This shines through all the photos and words like a brilliant light. I find this so very encouraging and refreshing, and I often feel like you are speaking the language of my heart. I wish I could know you in real life! :) And I also love your instagram feed. So I want to encourage you to keep doing both. It is just another way to reach different people through your talents

  • Crystal - Oh my goodness, I would never ditch your blog for IG….your blog is the only one I basically follow consistently and have stuck with for years. I love hearing your heart and you are such an encouragement to me as a mom, crafter, blogger and homeschooler. How DO you do it all? :) I actually think your instagram is a good little tease or encouragement that can get followers to come over to your blog…and maybe they will stick around, maybe they won’t. And, by the way, I look forward to hearing you at Hope Spoken this year! :)

  • Caroline - I would say…it is an art..not a science. There is no perfect equation. You appear to have always followed your gut and your gut is good and true to you. Try to let go of the tension and let your posts be what feels good to you. Don’t overthink it. You are a mom, wife, sister, friend. You are a writer. You are an artist. You are letting folks see all of that. Each of the social media areas allows you to express those roles in different ways. Another cup please? :)

  • Kari - I have crazy mornings right now with a 6 month old and a 4 year old. I get them both ready for school and gma’s house before I come to work at 9am. The first thing I do is open your blog and take a breath. It restarts my day and it helps. Honestly, if you’re struggling with instagram take a break from it. Delete the app from your phone and go on hiatus for a month. If you’re happier without it then get rid of it. Who cares if you lose followers? The people, us who “know” you, will always come back to your blog. You don’t owe us anything by keeping a blog and instagram. Of course, on the other hand if you’re happier with instagram then keep it. But I definitely think if you’re struggling with it then you should take a break. And no, you don’t owe anyone an explanation either. You’re awesome Ashley.

  • Anna @ A Good Home - I really like the little “this week on the blog” thing you’ve started on IG. I was SHOCKED when you said that most of your IG followers don’t even know you have a blog. What a waste! There’s so much goodness here, I definitely share your view that IG is sort of icing on the blog cake :) I think it would be hard to share the depth of things like Little One’s adoption on IG alone, and I so treasure getting to share the little pieces of your family’s heart that you write about here. No helpful answers, I know, but I just wanted to say that I love love love your blog and can’t imagine IG without it. (For me, it would be a bit like only watching the Harry Potter movies without having read the books. Nice stories, but missing so much of the depth. I’m pretty obsessed with Harry Potter ;) )

  • Windie D - I read this blog every morning & it’s something I always look forward to. I also follow you on Instagram. The blog is great because of your tutorials & random thoughts & bringing awareness to various charities. I love “watching” your family dynamics and seeing your journey. As I don’t know you personally, it’s almost like checking in with your favorite show, but with real people; Instagram is like sneak preview.

    thank you for taking the time to blog & share your life with us.
    ~w

  • Stephanie - I begin each morning reading your blog with my cup of coffee beside me. I love the idea that we are virtually sharing this time together. Your words inspire me throughout my day. My children are of college age and when I read your stories about your family, I think back to those special moments we shared, too. We are also a beagle family, so I smile when I see Arley running along with your children or snuggled up close to them. When you wrote that more people look at your instagram than read your blog, my reaction was “really?” Your words paint a picture and the photos bring those words to life. Ashley, thank you for giving all of your readers this glimpse into your family’s life and the thoughtful words that accompany us until we read your next post.

  • Sarah - I’ve been following your blog for a couple years and I hope you know how you touch lives. Not just with your words, which I love to read, but also with the way you live your life! You inspire me to be a better wife and a better momma.

    Maybe take a time-out from IG, or just post fewer pictures for a while. That’s all I’ve got. I am the worst advice giver, because I can rarely think of anything to say! I mainly just wanted to encourage you and thank you for sharing your life with so many of us.

  • Romy - I follow your Instagram account, but I come to your blog daily to read and see the real pictures. I also feel that your IG is just an extension of this blog, and it is nice to see the Campbell Crew over there too. I think you should focus on this blog, and then IG happens naturally.

  • carrie - Blog! You are such an encourager through your blog. I look forward to “catching up” with you when i sit down to read. Teaching… i enjoy teaching myself and see that you have a gift. But, you are truly such an encourager! Encouraging me towards godly priorities. Oh, and you got me capturing way too many pictures and putting them in yearly simple books. I have not become a professional, but i love taking pics with my dslr and gifting my family with their picture story. :) truly, thank you for taking the time to do what you do here. You are making a difference in my day!

  • Tanya - I took your class a summer or two ago and I loved it! I read your blog every morning, it’s the ONLY blog I check regularly, and I love it! I enjoy getting an extended glimpse into your family life, your viewpoints, your ideas, your projects, your passions, etc. That said, I also love instagram! I really like the ability to flip through pictures that inspire me, my creativity and my attitude, at a fast glance throughout the day. Somedays (I’m a stay-at-home-mom), that quick glimpse into other’s days really brightens my day. So, while this blog is our morning coffee, think of instagram as our mid-day playdate. Or our night-out cocktails! No matter what, thanks for doing what you do because it is wonderful wherever it’s posted. :)

  • laura - I love your blog most out of the ones I follow. It is so honest and the stories of your family are beautiful. I love how it is just your life, not just crafting or photography or homeschool or family but all it as your story together.

  • Debbie - I’d say do what makes you happy. I think if you are thinking about it so much, maybe you already have your answer. Love your blog!!!!

  • joan - Hi Ashley,
    I enjoy reading your blog, please don’t quit! I really like that your posts are honest but still positive, and you let your kids be kids! As a mom of a houseful, I thoroughly enjoy that. I also love that you capture that freedom/sense of being a kid so well in your pictures. Wonderful, wonderful work!

  • Meg - I have my coffee with you most mornings too! I read your blog and follow you on instagram. I love insta for the beautiful images, but I like the “whole story” you share on the blog more. Hope you will continue to share; I am sad that so many bloggers have stopped posting or post very infrequently now. (But with two young kids, I also understand! Life happens, sometimes there just isn’t enough time :)

  • Mary - Your blog is the only blog I read anymore. I feel like it is “real” if that makes sense. I enjoy snippets on IG and sometimes that is my prompt to go see your blog and see what is new that you posted. Maybe under each IG post a link back to your blog. I think if more IGers saw your blog they would keep coming back for more. I found you on IG about a year ago and now I check your blog often.

  • Kathi - Like so many others – I too have coffee with you every morning. It’s a quiet space to read your thoughts and greatly enjoy your pictures. The tension with blogging/instagram….they are both great tools, but instagram can feel like a ‘drive through’. Quick pictures to admire, but not getting into the full depth, the story. I am drawn to so many beautiful pictures on instagram, and I can see wonderful threads in the artistry or the eye that someone has, but I don’t always get the privilege of knowing the story. Your blog – brings to fruition your story, your words, your places of vulnerability. I will continue to comment from time to time to encourage you in this non face-to-face dialogue that happens as we have coffee! I hope you find clarity in this ‘tension’!

  • Jenn - oh how i have loved reading your blog all these years. thank you for continuing to post and sharing your heart. your instagram reflects your blog for sure. i am eager to take your dslr photo class. hoping to save some money and take it sometime this year. “hopefully” :)

  • Amy - First I would say “Mmmmm coffee!” The I would say that I’m not even on Instagram so I never see those posts, but I love your blog and I hope you keep posting. A lot of your posts give me the inspiration I need to do things like being crafty, taking more pictures, and soaking in all the sweet little moments of every day life. You are awesome! And you’re in Oklahoma so I kind of like that we have that in common. :)

  • Heather - Oh i love your blog! I love the simplicity of it, the realness, the smiles I get from it. I hope you will always blog! Instagram is like candy, quick and sweet.

  • Tina - I was thinking back to when I found your blog…you had 3 boys and a baby girl and I was expecting baby #4 (with 3 boys) and I wondered if we’d have the same family type! :) Nope, I have 4 boys…and I kind of just was in shock to realize that baby is almost 4, how have I been following you that long?!? (Oh and we’re in year #2 of homeschooling, another connect I now follow). I struggle w/ bloggers on IG….I kind of feel IG is for my local friends, so I don’t follow too many ‘others’ on it. I don’t like the long string of comments, etc.

  • Laura J - “I really love teaching – that doesn’t mean I am good at it, but I do really enjoy it” Girlfriend you are crazy if you think you are not a good teacher! I learn from you every time I read something you have written! You make me laugh/cry/think in a wonderful way. I cherish your blog. Your instagram is like an Ashley snack to me. Not quite enough to be filling, but I still like seeing it. I have to ask-what the heck is in the jar on the table?? Is it something edible or part of a craft project?! (I do think of you as my girlfriend, silly since we have never met, but true)

  • lisa - love reading your blog and following on instagram. :)

  • susan - Although I don’t drink coffee you are one of two blogs I start my morning with each day. I am so happy that you still blog b/c many of the writers of my my favourites from over the years have switched to IG and it’s just not the same. Please keep it up! I have 2 kids, work full time and live in the city but I love reading about your life, how different it is and yet, how many similarities there still are. I think that we always second guess our own life choices- should I stay home with the kids? Should we leave the city for a different type of life? Your blog inspires me daily to do my best to be present for my own kids in the much smaller amount of time I have with them. And, it reminds me that there are choices in life- when I’m feeling exhausted from working, cleaning, prepping lunches for the next day, I remind myself that this is the life my hsb and I have chosen for ourselves. I could do things differently and there is something freeing in that – even if I don’t make a change! It keeps me conscious about that choice and I feel more content with my own life.

  • Jenny - I would say, do what makes you happy. :) I love seeing your pictures on Instagram, but I love reading your blog even more. I always feel challenged to get back out and keep taking pictures.

  • Courtney - while i would agree with most of the comments i saw as i scanned through them (“i LOVE your blog! don’t stop blogging! also love your instagram, but love the bits of your life and heart we see on your blog!”) i would ultimately say, DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU. what is your gut? what makes you feel alive and fulfilled? what challenges you and makes you grow? do that. :-)

  • Julie - Blogging to me, either authoring my own or reading others, has more of a “soul” that I find lacks on IG. Instagram bores me after a while, because it’s too much like Pinterest. I leave feeling unconnected to another human being in any way, and the inspiration the photos provide, get to a point where there are too many ideas….inspiration turns to feeling depleted of energy—the opposite of inspired.

  • Lynn - Ashley, your blog is the first one I read each morning. I enjoy your style of writing and your beautiful photos. I don’t know you in real life but I feel like what share on your blog is the real you and it shows in your writing. You have a gift that I hope you continue to share on your blog that isn’t quite the same on Instagram.
    Thanks for sharing your gift of writing, photography and many others!!!

  • Katey - Hi Ashley!
    As a student in your very first snap shot course, and an avid reader of the blog for years, I think that your Instagram reflects you. I specifically like how you share what has been on the blog during that week. I would love to say that I get to have my morning coffee with you daily, but homeschooling, having an 18month old running around and about to pop with my third, it doesn’t always happen until much later at night. :) I believe if you keep “mini-blogging” on Instagram, you’ll reach so many people than you could with just a blog or just a photo on Instagram. You’re doing it right, girl. Be encouraged!

  • Brie - Ashley – I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now, and just joined instagram about a month ago. I am still an instagram loser to be honest, but I love reading your blog. I love more stories, because it feels like you’re telling me about yourself and just looking at a stranger’s pictures makes me feeling like I’m just stalking. I love your blog, in a way I feel like we’d be friends if we really knew each other. I homeschool my 7 year old and have a crazy toddler and my husband and I will be bringing our son home from China in just a few months! I was introduced to your blog from a friend when we first started pursuing adoption from China and I just fell in love. Thank you for being open with your stories, they make me feel welcomed into your life.

  • Jen2 - Maybe you have your answer – if you “wish people could only follow my instagram if they read my blog, it would be far less people, but it would be those that ‘know’ me. I’d so prefer that option” then the best option would be to make your IG private, and only let those who you choose, follow you on IG? If your goal is to reach only those who “know” you, that seems to be the best thing.

  • Shelly - Good morning Ashley! You are quite literally my morning cup of coffee while I am at work! Your blog is the first website I visit each morning before starting my day with my cup of joe…your photographs always bring a smile to my face and I enjoy seeing Oklahoma through “your eyes.” I enjoy reading your blog; I have been following along with your life for a number of years and have only commented once or twice but each day I begin my morning with you ;) To answer your question, I prefer to read your blog. As I am not on Instagram for the social aspect of it (I only use it to edit my iPhone photos for print or to share on FB) I do not follow your IG feed. I should follow you though, your photographs inspire me to take different snap shots of my life and seeing your IG images it looks like I am missing out on some pretty awesome stuff :) But to answer your question, I would suggest your use your blog to share the majority of your work. I like reading the stories that go along with your photographs. But I understand the struggle. Social media outlets change over the years and the methods people use also shifts. I like blogs. I love your blog. This should be your main focus. In my opinion of course :)

  • Kim B - I like that you go in depth on the blog. I look forward to reading it and I also like how you have shared different things thru IG. When someone uses IG to promote their blog and you go to their blog and you see the same exact photos that were just on IG with very little more details, it is disappointing. I feel like that person has just wasted my time. That’s when I stop following.
    I always feel like you are authentic, I am imagine you or your family in the moment thru your photo and your descriptions. This happens with your blog and IG. Thanks for sharing!

  • Charla - I looooove your blog. Instagram is fun but I don’t get to hear your heart there. You’ve been given a gift to share. Please keep sharing!!! Our family tried your church Sunday and I saw you from a distance. When we left I mentioned to my family I had spotted you. My oldest son said why do you like her blog much my answer was easy. She’s a mom with a great heart for God, she shares it in a way that is simple and beautiful.

  • donna - A while back you recommended a Acer Aspire/V5 which I purchased, I noticed in your picture that was not what you’re using. What happened?

  • jenna - Long time reader as well!! I look forward to reading your blog daily. I think of Instagram posts as a pit-stop, read in an elevator or while waiting for a friend. Your blog is a destination, always read with intention, and with a cup of coffee in hand.

  • Jenna - I love your blog! I will admit the only reason I upgraded to an iPhone was to get Instagram and follow you! And now I do and I love you on there too but in your blog you get to dig deeper and I appreciate that. You have a great way of expressing yourself. Those times where you take a break from blogging leave me hanging and I cheer when you come back! Keep being you and the rest will realize what they are missing out on on your blog. Xo

  • Rachel - First,Please don’t stop blogging. I have been reading your blog for a very long time and love it. My children are grown now, but reading your blog makes me a better grandma. If that makes sense. I totally agree with the the whole instagram scene becoming “blogs”. Whenever I see a long post on an Instagram pic, I don’t take the time to read it. I keep scrolling. Instagram is more visual for me. Secondly, one of these days I am going to take your photo class and make me a better picture taker. If I could just get over the fear of the camera.

  • sarah - Audrey Assad penned one of my favorite lyrics, and it comes to mind here as I read your struggles with Instagram: “From a need to be understood / And from a need to be accepted / Deliver me” (from her song “I Shall Not Want”). Perhaps part of what it means to live with peace, even in the tension of it all, is being set free from that insidious fear of being misunderstood. It’s true that someone may see only a slice of your beautiful life on Instagram and come to different conclusions than those who follow your story more closely on the blog, but it seems to me the only thing you can control is how you conduct your life in real life and on the web (and in my opinion, you do this with vulnerability, honesty, humor, and hope). If you are misunderstood at times (and who among us isn’t?), could the freedom and peace come from accepting that and trusting this is actually normal and okay? Just some of my musings this morn…

  • Susan - Your blog is about real, true life and is a blessing in the morning for so many of us. Pictures are beautiful, but it is the combination of the photos with your words that make your blog on my “must read” list every day. I love your sincerity that comes across loud and clear through your blog.
    Reflect on the fact that you give voice to love for family and a sincere desire to be a decent human being in this hard world. May God continue to bless you as you bless others.
    Susan

  • laura - I love your blog and the realness you bring to your posts. I love when the joy and hardness of real life meet the beauty of pictures. Without words, we forget the struggle and the real life issues that happen around the stilled moment. Thanks for writing!

  • Danielle - I recently started reading your blog and only rarely comment on any blog but I had to let you know that I love your blog, love your family’s story of adoption and love to look at your beautiful photos. I have serious photo/camera envy :) your writing and your heart is so sweet and authentic. Over Christmas break I read through your adoption posts (whole rocking my newborn to sleep) and was so moved. It was so beautiful to read all at once, without having to wait in real life! Keep blogging…you’re so good at it.

  • Michelle - I’m so glad you’ve addressed this topic! Having tried to keep a blog, I know that putting these posts together takes up a lot of your time! It must be hard to feel that you have to keep on top of it all with blogging and all the social media. I’m thrilled to see that all of the comments keep saying the same thing – PLEASE continue blogging ;) Your instagram photos are amazing, but it is your blog that inspires me as a mom and wife, friend and daughter. Your authenticity brightens my day. I can’t count how many times I have teared up reading your posts – tears of joy and empathy. You have an amazing gift as a photographer, but you are so much more than that and your blog tells the whole story. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to share a little bit in your world. Thank you for being such an inspiration. I’ve been a teacher for nearly 20 years, so I’d also like to say, just for the record, you are a wonderful teacher – not just in your photo courses ;)

    Cheers!

  • Leah Beth - I don’t usually comment but I wanted to encourage you that I really enjoy and appreciate your blog. I enjoy Instagram with people I know…I don’t even follow most of the bloggers that I read regularly on Instagram because I feel like Instagram is just different than a blog. So I support your blogging to continue on! I appreciate the way you share your heart along with your talents!

  • Peggy - I started reading your blog when you were doing some posts for Design Sponge. I love your creative posts and that is why I started reading your blog. But you inspire me so much more as a mom. Your posts about what you want to give your kids leave me in awe. I like your IG feed because it makes me smile and I feel like everyone in the world could use another reason to smile. I don’t have any one following me on IG that I do not know. So, I am not sure how I would feel if a stranger liked a picture of one of my kids. It is too bad you can’t ask someone a question before they can follow you on IG.

  • Amanda - I have coffee with you every morning! What’s all this virtual nonsense? Haha just kidding.

    What’s to sweat? Different strokes for different folks is my motto. Some people are growing up in an age of Instagram instead of blogs. Imagine how real books feel! I love to read your blog and see the pictures. Other days, I just get to quickly look through Instagram. It’s nice to see on both places.

    My suggestion is to do the picture posts on your blog like you did from China. You can link one picture up to Instagram and add the “to see more, visit my blog at…” bit. Some people might not like what you have to say either and would rather just look at your pictures. You can’t please everybody and there’s no use trying. Sometimes pictures don’t need words either. You could also just Instagram pictures of things you don’t intend on talking about on your blog. I miss a lot of your pictures on Instagram so it might be nice to have a monthly recap of your Instagram photos too.

    That was a little jumbled but hopefully something to think about.
    Amanda :)

  • Diana - I personally don’t like it when I find someone on IG who posts about craft or fashion or whatever but doesn’t have a blog. I want to know more than what Instagram can do! Plus, you can’t pin stuff from Instagram (at least not easily).

  • Yolanda - So surprising to read this because I think of you as someone who SO has it figured out. You didn’t really say what your discomfort was with people following you on Instagram, but not the blog. You know how to create compelling content on Instagram and on your blog and you do so consistently. But, from a “business perspective” you have a very organic brand. And from a momma just living her life with a house full of kids and busy days, you project a confidence and ease, sometimes disrupted by self-doubt. It’s a perfect blend of aspirational and relatable. So, while I’m not really sure what your ambivalence is, all I can say is that it seems to be working.

  • Debbie - I have been reading your blog for a few years and it is one of my favorites. I began reading when your older daughter was in the hospital with a cast on her legs and pelvis. Feels like eons ago as now you have another daughter who is about that same age. Anyway….I think Instagram is great and I really do like it, but I would miss your writing if you stopped blogging in favor of using Instagram. Your voice is what draws me in again and again.

  • Kim B. - Hmmmm. I don’t have an answer for you, but I am grateful that you continue blogging. Your photographs are beautiful – but your writing and sensitivity just brings so many blessings to so many people and makes us stop and reflect so often.

    I enjoy seeing you on Instagram, but I love the real, deeper story here.

    Thank you for the time and spirit you invest in this blog.

    From one Okie to another!

  • Anne - We probably wouldn’t been having morning coffee, but I can totally picture us in your studio chatting while crafting. And I’d tell you that I LOVE your blog. I really like the pictures because they make you and your family feel more like friends. But what I enjoy the most are your words. Random thoughts, structured how-tos, craft stuff or just talking about your family weekend. I’m pretty sure it is also awesome to follow you on Instagram, but for me that would just be half the fun. I think that whoever only follows you Instagram is missing out on you! The real deal is blog posts with pictures. So I’m hoping for decades of Under The Sycamore posts! ????

  • Amber - I have followed your blog for years as well and I really enjoy it! My now 12 year old daughter followed your adoption with me and we both love to see how Little One(and everyone else too!) is growing and progressing! I love the trips you take and the projects you do, and insights you share. I feel like you are my friend even if it is totally one-sided! For those of us the follow you on your blog- yes, we “get” you, and therefore “get” your instagrams without too much explanation. So I would say that if you have your blog info at the header of your instagram, the “only instagrammers” who want more of an “explanation of your pics” can find it if they want to. Some people just want to see pretty pics, and you DO post pretty pics!!! : ) I don’t get to have coffee or lunch with you everyday unfortunately, so if I am cruising the pretty pics on instagram and see one from you, I know that chances are there is a new post and I look forward to reading it. I just finished the DSLR Snapshop and loved it! I made notes of things to practice, since I was so busy this past month and didn’t get to practice much. Your explanations of things and how they work are SO UNDERSTANDABLE!!! Thank you for sharing your passion with us! For that matter, Thank you to you, Chris and your family for sharing your lives with so many strangers! You inspire me and make me want to do better with so many things. God Bless You and Your Family!!! xoxo

  • Sara - Sweet Ashley…I have been reading your blog for years. And years. In fact, yours is one of the very few “original” blogs I still read. I’ve seen others ditch their personal blogs for more advertising and more of a commercial feel. But when I “visit” you, I feel like I’m talking to you or listening in to the real life world in your house. In fact, I was just telling my twin about one of your recent blog posts last night and said “You and I, I’m sure we’d get along great with her!” You are just the real deal…gold. Please keep blogging! (and I’m close-in Arkansas! A few years back you gave me advice on finding crafty friends and entering the blogging world…I’ve always appreciated that)

  • Caroline - I think what you’re doing is perfect. Also, Instagram is where I’ve discovered several blogs that I now read regularly. You’ve got your blog linked and you reference it often, so you’re doing what you can. Some people only have time or mental capacity for Insta, whereas those of us with hearts geared toward the Gospel, homeschool, adoption, your style, gorgeous photography, or just stinkin’ cute families can’t get enough of you and need more of your life than a square at a time! :) Your Instagram account IS you. It “reads” like your blog. Stunning imagery, but so, so genuine. Trust me. If I didn’t follow your blog already but stumbled across one of your Insta-posts, I’d have to trace you back to your blog to learn more. And I would absolutely not be disappointed.

  • Robyn - Dear Ashley,

    I love your blog and I love instagram! Instagram takes me around the world in just a few minutes. I get to see beautiful places and things and imagine and dream! It’s easy to take a quick peek and I get to join the dialogue with my own photos. I do worry about “strangers”, but I also think about being a “Light” and a witness for Christ!

    As for your blog, I love and enjoy seeing your beautiful photos and reading about your life. I loved when my kids were little and I enjoy remembering things we did… that you are doing with your family.

    You are on a good path and I encourage you! You lift up others!
    It’s good to “help one another”!

    I love reading Under the Sycamore and The Pioneer Woman because you are both women talking about daily life and you have been blessed because of it! It’s been great watching you both grow!

    Keep writing and taking pictures! Keep posting on Instagram!!!

    From a quiet fan….

  • Alison - I started reading your blog in the year leading up to your adoption of your youngest daughter – I think I had found a tutorial of your that had been pinned to Pinterest. I don’t read as many blogs as I used to, but those that I do, I faithfully read. I love your writing, your photographic and crafting styles, and your take on life. I relate to your Christianity, though we aren’t the same religion, and I admire that you have a big family. You make everything you do beautiful. When I read your blog, I am inspired.
    I follow your instagram account too – if only to see more of your pictures. I love how you can take even the most mundane happenings and make them beautiful with your photography. I see it as an extension of your blog and it hasn’t stopped me from being a faithful reader. As for myself, my blog is private – a family account – so I don’t get more than a dozen readers any week, and instagram (also private) is my way of connecting to many more people. If anything, it has replaced facebook in my life, and in the best way possible.

  • Kathie M. - Ashley, I would love to sit and sip coffee with you amongst the chaos that is our daily lives with children. I have recently begun to blog and I really want to have a successful blog but I don’t know where to really get started. I read your blog, your sister’s blog (when she blogs ;) ), Joy Proudy’s and Meg Duersken’s blog daily. You are the beginning to my work day oddly enough. I love this time and often miss it when I am not at work because I don’t get on the computer at home as much. I keep up with your Instagram along with many others. I love having my instagram for quick photos too! It is so much fun. I also try to do a daily photo a day prompt that is fun but I often miss days. I love having a peek into your daily life and often find myself wishing to figure out how to find the time to make everything work. I know your days are not as pretty as your posts all the time and I love your real life posts. They make it all come around and remember that not everyday is pretty and rosie. I have twin boys with special needs and they are my life. I love them so much. I have started facebook pages for them and trying to keep up with everything along with a full time job outside of the home is very hard. Let’s just say my house has never been picture ready but it is real and my boys are well taken care of and happy. And really that is more important to me. We quickly have out grown our little starter home and really need to move but it is just not in the cards right now even though it needs to happen more and more. I love your blog and your instagram and just remember that both are wonderful. You are help others and touching lives with both even though it may seem like your instagram is scattered and not like your blog it is ok because it is all you and it is all real!! You have an amazing family and you are wonderfully passionate about them!! I can always see that!!

  • Lacey Meyers - I totally understand that love-hate relationship, though I’m not even on Instagram. ;) Mine is with Facebook, but for very similar reasons that you have posted. My blog is exactly what you’ve said yours is … my comfy little home to tell my stories. I only post to Facebook with a photo that I’ve also shared on my blog, along with the link to the post, so hopefully that helps tie it together. And that is only on my business page on Facebook … I don’t even post to my personal page anymore. We can only do so much and still find the adequate amount of time to fulfill our priorities. :) Mostly, though, I love that you’re sitting by your spaceheater on the floor … that is how I work MOST of the time! :D

  • Ashleigh Blatt - Hi Ashley – I think you have nothing to worry about. You’re doing something right. Errrr… many things right. You naturally share via your blog that is respected as it is and the same goes for your instagram account. What you do is working. And what you DO is BE who you are. Right now there are 138 comments, 138 people who want to have that coffee with the natural, authentic you. I know I do. Keep doing what you’re doing. XXOO

  • Michelle - I love your blog. I love the combination of stories and pictures. Perhaps because like you, my pictures tend to tell their own stories. There is something magical that happens when words and pictures marry. Instagram seems more like instant food … just doesn’t have the same substance or nourishment. Just my thoughts … and like you I have an Instagram account and a blog. Just prefer blogging.

  • Katrina - Hi Ashley,
    I have been reading your blog for many years, although I have only commented a couple of times. Your blog was the first one I started reading and the first one I read each day. I start my day by sitting quietly on the lounge and enjoying a hot cup of coffee with you! I don’t blog and I’m not on Instagram, Facebook etc although I do use Pinterest. I have three boys and don’t need too many online distractions to suck up all my time that I could/should be doing other things. I do often feel guilty that I get a glimpse into your life and feel like I know a lot about you and yet you wouldn’t even know who I am or that I am here…perhaps I should comment more. Anyway I live in Australia, I sit here each morning enjoying my coffee with an awesome view of the hills and trees out my windows with the glorious morning sun. We are enjoying a mild summer for February – usually our hottest month. I often wonder what I would do if a blog that I had been following for a long time would suddenly stop posting….would feel like I’m losing a friend in a way. I really enjoy reading your blog and look forward to it each morning, please please don’t stop. God bless you.

  • Em - I’ve been reading your blog for the better part of 4 years, and you were the first person I followed on instagram – I honestly didn’t know you could follow/be followed until you told us to follow you! I love reading your stories and I love seeing your instagram.

    I feel like instagram fills in the gaps for blogging…share how you want to share and I follow where you go :-)

  • Kelly - Hi Ashley! I follow your blog and your IG account, and I love that I can check out your blog every morning for some creative inspiration or just to hear a story about your family or daily life. You are so eloquent in the way you tell your story, and I love your honesty. I would have never been able to know that about you just by following your IG account, and I appreciate that. Thanks for sharing your gift with the rest of us!!!

  • Christian T - You should do whatever makes you happy! If IG makes you happy, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. If blogging makes you happy, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t! If you are feeling overwhelmed, drop whatever doesn’t bring you happiness or joy. Doesn’t have to be forever, just until you feel like picking it up again.

  • Juliana @ Te Amo Too - Hi Ashley, I have been reading your blog for years and I don’t think I ever commented, maybe a time or two. I am very new to blogging myself and was overthinking Instagram this past week as well. What I have decided is to keep Instagram private. I have a link to my Instagram account on my blog and people can click on it and request to follow me. I’m not sure if that is a good filter, or if it actually works. But if someone really wants to, they’ll request it and then I’ll accept. That next step shows me who reads my blog and is really interested. I hope this helps.

  • Kat - I love instagram for what I need, and because I can make Chatbooks :) But I love your blog (and a couple others). I have been reading it for…5 years I think? I found you through a tutorial I think, ha! Then I stayed because I like your pictures and words. I just hardly ever comment :) I used to blog, a few years ago, back when EVERYONE did. Nothing major, just something friends & family might have read. I kind of got weary of it, I felt like it was all a big popularity contest, so I felt like I couldn’t compete since popularity and I have known each other. Worse, I felt I had nothing to contribute.
    So much has changed with technology and I am realizing that blogs can still be relevant. Over the past year or so I find myself wishing I still did it. Maybe I will. But if I do, I might make an anonymous one, and write about things I think will add something to the world besides noise. There is already so much noise.
    Your blog is like a breath of fresh air. I feel uplifted when I read it. Even if it’s something more serious or difficult, I still come away feeling a teeny bit more alive. So thanks for having your blog.
    And I just realized I never answered your question.

  • Amanda Torres - I love your blog and your Instagram, I would tell you not to give up on either one. I love that you only use your phone for Instagram, but love viewing all your pictures on the blog too. You have a beautiful way with words that only your blog deserves ;)

  • Jenni - I think it is a little sad that the blogosphere has been impacted by IG. For one, you guys have worked HARD to make this a career, through Ads and other monetization. I’m sure lack of readership directly impacts that. I think IG works as a ‘tease’ for me. If I’m intrigued with an IG image, I do head to the blog. I don’t love the chapter long descriptions on people’s feed, unless it is a prayer need or something. It just feels like an advertisement to me for some reason. Love your blog! Don’t stop, please. You are good at what you do in this space. Much love.

  • Jenny - I love your blog and your instagram feed. I think I enjoy your feed because I feel like I know you and your family from the blog. Often, if I am looking at instagram, it is because I have a very short time and sometimes I have a hard time reading long comments on the pictures. But since I feel like I kinda know your family, I enjoy looking at the pictures and getting inspiration even if I can’t read the notes. Please keep doing both!

  • Sandy - I’ve read your blog for years and follow you on IG. For me, Instagram is something I can thumb through mindlessly and carelessly and quite honestly, at times, it overwhelms me. When I read a blog I’ve purposefully set aside the time for it, my mind is engaged, and I consider it a treat. Isn’t that what we want and need in real life relationships. To set aside time for others. To look someone in the eye and come along side them, if you will. To enjoy the time together. Your blog is a very warm, comfortable, inviting place. I would describe IG as “fast-paced” and blogs “slow-paced”, you know, the front porch sittin’, sweet tea sippin’, “how’s your mama and them” pace, and I like that!!!

  • Beth - Former student here. I loved taking the class and gaining confidence in my phtography. I learned about Instagram in class. I like it but I don’t love it. I much prefer reading your blog with lots of pictures!

  • Jenny B. - I would say keep blogging, and post to instagram if you feel like it. That would be my selfish answer, of course, because I only read the blog and don’t follow anyone on instagram. :) I don’t like social media. It doesn’t feel safe to me. Not like there are predators that are going to track me down kind-of not safe (though that could be a possibility, I guess), but more of an emotional unsafeness. It seems like every time I get on Facebook, I see or read something that upsets me. Sometimes it’s things that should be upsetting — like learning about a family who just lost their dad in a car wreck or requests for prayers for a sick little boy. But other times it’s people sharing more than they should about personal stuff I don’t want to know, or friends venting about random annoyances, which isn’t all that bad, but leaves me feeling grumpy and discouraged. Anyway… I like your blog. I feel safe here. I know that if you share something that might upset me, it will be because it’s important and worth getting upset over. I’m not saying that you were necessarily suggesting dropping one or the other, but if you were going to choose between the two, I would hope you chose the blog. :)

  • Mary jo - I enjoy reading your blog everyday. I discovered it when my son was getting married and my now daughter in law found your notebooks that you sent to Haiti.
    I made something similar for the little ones at their wedding reception.
    I think your family is beautiful , your home lovely, it is a cheerful spot in my day to see goodness!

  • Maureen - I love your words. You and your family have become precious to me. I have great friends and an incredible family but as we’ve faced grevious losses, your blog, for years now, has given me a place to go each day and just listen. And smile. Somtimes laugh out loud and occasionly share tears. It has become somehow, truly meaningful to me and my life. A peaceful place to begin or sometimes end my day, with people I’ve come to cherish and I carry that smile into the rest of my day. The pictures are wonderful, I would never want to diminish that, but your words are too and it’s your words that have been a cherished tool and gift in my healing process and stepping back into life. Sounds HUGE after writing this. Amazing the power of a little blog. Thank you.

  • Jane - I would say ‘please keep blogging!’. I just love reading about your little part of the world. my life is very different to yours, yet we have so much in common too. I love IG but don’t like the ‘instant’ part of it that it has added to life getting faster rather than slowing down.
    I have loved watching your kids grow (not in a creepy way, I promise!) and have wondered what their voices sound like, loved seeing your family grow through adoption, and your journey with special needs (I work with children with special needs in Melbourne, Australia), I have been inspired by your woodwork skills, and the many crafty posts as well as just enjoying reading about your heart to love God and love your family well.
    One of my favourite things I have learnt from you is ‘linger a little longer’ and I feel blogs, particularly yours help me to do that rather than the quick scroll through of IG that sometimes just make me think that my life is not exciting and I can’t take great pics! (as if they’re really all from people’s phones!)

  • Allison k - Hey Ashley, I adore your blog. I am in high school and I love seeing your photos. I can only hope a am a fraction of the mom you are, one day. I hearing your heart and it is so refreshing to know that there are still really good people in the world, you being one of them. I love seeing all the really pretty things you are always creating, DIYing, & photographing but the thing that I love the most is your dedication to your family. Basically I love it // I have gotten several of my friends addicted to your blog as well, which is kinda easy cause your just that awesome.

  • Kristin S - Ashley, I still follow and read a lot of blogs. I would for sure list yours in my top ten – and my feedly is FULL. I scan most but I read yours.

    Please don’t stop.

    I get it, though. I’m not a famous blogger but my blogging has slowed down drastically in the last year. I just don’t enjoy it in this season. That could change tomorrow and I’d happily return to regular and consistent.

    I’m just glad any time you post.

  • Elizabeth - Love your blog. Please don’t stop. I don’t do Instagram. But I read your blog each day. Thank you! You are inspiring to us all.

  • Hillary - Hi Ashley,

    Reading and checking up on our blog and/or following you on Instagram is like a daily routine. Words cannot express what an inspiration you are. I enjoy both the blog and Instagram (almost as if they go hand & hand)! I still remember the day I stumbled across your blog right when you guys were about to go half way across the world to meet your precious little one. For a long time God has been placing adoption on my heart. I felt like He was calling me to do something & get involved but I had no idea how a college kid could. I truly believe He brought me to your blog and as I stayed up all night experiencing a tiny glimpse of that miraculous adventure you & your family was on in order to become little ones forever family…I was hooked! God used your story to help start mine. God has planted a big sized dream of adoption and I can’t wait to see where that leads. Thank you so much for taking time to be such an amazing inspiration to me and countless others!

  • Heidi - Social media is an everchanging evolution for sure. It’s interesting that you mention blogs day having peaked as a friend and I were just discussing that last week. And I am guilty of switching allegience to IG. Except for your blog. As I read your post, there was a tinge inside that was scared you might be saying farewell to the blog world and I was sad. I think you have found an amazing balance of authenticity, revelence, tolerance, acceptance, hope, reality, exploration, creativity, life contemplation, activism and friendship! Quite frankly, you are an amazing person, mother, artist, and wife! But not in a bragging way. Never have I felt you’ve exploited your children or sold out your lifestyle as it seems other bloggers with a significant number of followers . Thank you for being real and putting yourself out there! Your blog is a fabulous example one of the advantages of social media!

  • Erin - Hi Ashley! I read your blog religiously every day–I think of you as a virtual friend, too! I don’t follow you on instagram. I do click over on your sidebar every once in a while to see what is new over there, but I love your words. I wouldn’t worry about instagram being a mini blog. Likely, instagram will entice new readers to come to your blog. Keep bringing the beauty in both places as you see fit. Do these things for you and we will follow along as our interests/time allows. God bless you, dear one!

  • rebekah - I have been reading your blog for close to five years and it is one of the first ones I check every morning! The way that you look at life constantly reminds me to look at motherhood in different ways. It is easy to get bogged down in the mundane and hard parts of motherhood and I am constantly reminded to look beyond that (and even treasure that) since these years are fleeting. I find the way that you just share life to be such an encouragement!

  • Sara K - I follow both your IG and blog. I love that your blog is more where the “meat” is-honest posts, ideas, real life. And IG, for me, is another way to tag along. But honestly, I love your blog a million times more than IG. IG for me is becoming a place to follow things I don’t want to follow on blogs-like US interior, Pete Souza, etc and then really close friends. Keep writing. I love hearing and digesting what you are willing to share.

  • Kimber C - I am obsessed with reading your blog. I think I’ve been a follower since 2009? Funny enough I knew you had instagram but it took me awhile to start following you on there because THIS is the Ashley I love, the story and feelings behind the camera, the momma tips on life and photography. Oh how I adore you and wish so bad I could be your friend in real life! I have 3 tiny boys (2 years and old two 3 months old) and every time I look at your blog it gives me a glimpse into the future of what life with older boys will be like and i LOVE it. I have no idea on the blog/IG thing. I kinda struggle with the same thing but whatever you’re doing, keep rocking it. When it comes down to it the blog and IG are record keeping spots for you, right? Do what you want and the rest will fall into place!

  • Jessica - I have been reading your blog for quite a while now (and have taken your phone snapshop course.) I would say that your blog is the one I most look forward to reading everyday. I feel like I know you, without actually really knowing you. I love that Instagram allows me to see into the more day-to-day moments that you don’t really put on your blog. I guess with both dynamics working together, it just helps me feel more connected.

  • Kelly - Hi Ashley, I agree that many are ditching blogging for instagram. I follow both your blog (have for many years) and also your instagram but if you only keep one (which I realize you’re not necessarily saying you’ll do at all) keep the blog!! That’s my vote! From you I have learned how to care in practical ways for people, I have gleaned much about how I want to parent (I remember amongst the first posts I read – you teaching your boys about the oil spill and using the stuffed animal sea animals and the water in the tubs and also “rice night”. We are not there quite yet but I plan to copy that life lesson for my kids when they are a little bigger.) I have also been encouraged to follow our God closely and listen for His heart and to be attuned to how His heart cares for others and how I can do that too. I have heard your heart to be authentic, have heard your fears and insecurities and have been reassured that mine are okay too. Even though you don’t talk about homeschooling much (and I respect that) I have even been inspired in ways as I plan my homeschooling journey that we begin next fall! I have also learned much from you regarding love, loving extended family, my spouse and my kids. Thank you for blogging and for the glimpses you share with us on instagram! Blessings on you and yours! Kelly

  • Jaimee - Hi Ashley,

    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog. I have been following it for about 4 years. Other blogs have come and gone, but yours has always been a constant. I think you have a wonderful balance. You always come across as authentic and real which is helpful for relating to. But at the same time I am often challenged by your Godly example especially in the area of mothering. So personally I love your blog but hardly ever check out instagram :)

    Thanks

  • Rachael - hi Ashley! I love that you wrote about this today because I’ve really wrestled with it too. As I’ve been contemplating picking my blog back up, I wonder if that’s silly and I should just share my thoughts on Instagram. But I know I just tend to flip through Instagram, not always reading and just looking. Sometimes this is easier, but I don’t think it’s better, or healthier, at least for me. I love your blog because it strikes such a wonderful balance of inspiration and encouragement, honesty and beauty, words and images. You have no idea how much life has been breathed into our home because of yours words, from cast care to DIY fun to holding cups of coffee with both hands. Thank you for taking the time to share. I treasure many of your lessons.

  • Melanie - I like your blog much much more than your instagram. As much as I love the easy “no-reading-just-looking” attitude of social media like pinterest and instagram I think nothing beats the combination of pictures and some personal words.
    With all those social media platforms there is so much possibility to burn out. If someday all these options overwhelm you just remember what satisfies you and what pays your bills. Does Instagram satisfy you, does it pay your bills?

    Greetings from Germany,
    Melanie

  • Emily - I like your words! I really enjoy reading what you have to say and have been more encouraged to see the little things around me even through the crumbs and mess of two littles.

  • beth lehman - i started reading blogs years ago and they are still my favorite. instagram is fun, but also becomes too much!!! i can’t keep up or even try… a blog sticks around in my feeder and can be read on my terms. they are totally different. after taking a break from ig, it can be hard for me to jump back in. for a time, it seemed that ig was a popularity contest of sorts. it’s hard for me to imagine how much time people spend scrolling!! and i don’t want to spend my time that way! i have started limiting my ig to those who are friends (internet or otherwise) b/c to me it’s not about the likes, it’s about connection and interaction. thank you for your creative spirit and joy, you are an inspiration!

  • Becky G - I’ve been reading your blog for years. Your blog is one of my absolute faves! Please don’t stop blogging. I like instagram, but totally prefer blogs over it. :)

  • Amy - While I know they say a picture says a thousand words, sometimes it’s nice to hear the words written on a blog in the morning, on our commute, late at night.

    So many of my favorite blogs disappeared into instagram only posts and you know what? I miss them. I don’t care if they never did a DIY post, or a recap post, or even if it seems silly to them post, I missed hearing their thoughts, and I missed catching up on their normal. Honestly I know many bloggers struggle with topics, balance, timing. I just want you all to know its about hearing you. If that voice is talking about this, that, or another thing, does not matter to me. I came here to check up and catch up on my blogging world friend.

    I will respect whatever road you choose, more balance, etc. If you decide to take a break, I will miss you a dear friend that moved away.

    Sending hugs!

  • Ashley - i love blogs. I love them because in a time of modern technology they are the closest thing to feeling slow and invited in. Keep on doing what you’re doing????

  • Cheri - Ashley, I love your blog, your written words, your photos, your heart, and your sweet family. I’ve taken your Snapshop class and absolutely loved it.

    Your IG feed inspires with photos, your blog inspires with words and photos.

    and…. I regularly have coffee with you … from MN. I only read two blogs now (used to read over 50). It was an easy decision to keep yours on my list!

    Coffee in person with you would be awesome!

  • Julie B - You were introduced to me by a mutual friend who was my co-worker at the time. That was over 5 years ago. At the time we were neighbors (we lived in that sad little yellow house that they tore down awhile back). At that time in my life my husband had been laid off, I had gone back to work, was pregnant with our 4th child and was finishing up my degree. Finding your blog changed my life. I started my own blog. I saw the beauty of my hometown and gained a deeper appreciation for the beauty in the every day. When work was literally making me cry and I wanted to give up, I would read your words and look at your beautiful pictures of a place that was literally down the street. You lifted me up without even knowing it. YOU made me feel like the world was beautiful and that I could struggle through anything and change my perspective and momentum. Post what you want, where you want. Those who matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter. I have morning coffee with you all the time!!

  • Kaitlyn - Oh man! I hear you on all levels here! I am so glad you continue to blog. I have been reading you since you started and you continue to remain my favorite blogger because you are so inspiring and just seem so genuine. I am sad that I have not kept time with my blog, I started it for journaling for my kids and experiences as a mother. I blame it on being busy with three but I know that being on IG has sucked so much of my time. Time I could have spent blogging and achieving my goal of doing it for my kids. Keep up the good work. The funny thing about IG is, I secretly enjoy people unfollowing me. I like being who I am and posting what makes me happy and if they don’t like it, then I’m more than happy to lose them!

  • Ani - i follow very few blogs and have never been into Instagram so maybe I’m not qualified to speak, but I love your blog. I love your mothering style and so relate to viewing life through a lense. I would miss not having your wise words on loving your kids and not being afraid to be yourself. I’m 26 with two little boys and want to be a homeschool family. I need women like you to look up too. Keep it up!

  • Ivana - I didn’t get a chance to read your blog yesterday with craziness, but still wanted to comment, even though I’m sure what I say has already been covered. I have said it in comments I have made on your blog in the past, but want to reiterate that I feel like your blog is an honest, “living in the moment” compilation of a life that I feel I can relate to so well. One of the things I love the most about it is that it emanates hope. And happiness. No, not every moment in life is happy, but we can all live our life with an overtone of some feeling. And I feel like, regardless of the stresses and discouragements you share on the blog, the overtone is hope and happiness. It encourages me to stretch, and to try harder to progress in ways I had never considered. I can understand the fear of being misconstrued with what is reflected on instagram. I would first say, there is enough ugliness in this world that if you have found beauty, you should put it out there. Someone is searching for that, and you will never know how many smiles you have given to people who were in need. And second, your photos are a reflection of who you are. Those pictures are of your family. In a world where the family is being slowly destroyed in many aspects, no one can look at your instagram and not know what you value in life. They can see how the family unit strengthens your life. The opinions people form from that are their own, there isn’t anything you can do about that. You can just learn to judge a little slower when situations arise in your own life, recognizing the limitations a brief glimpse gives to what makes a person tick…though I think you already do that far better than most. That said…it is most unfortunate for those who don’t read your blog. It is soup for the soul, no doubt about it. Thank you for taking time to write. From yet another nameless blog follower, you are an inspiration to me in my life.

  • Tiffany - I love the morning-coffee perspective.~ I have been away from my a.m. blog-hopping for a while, but viewed it in the same way for a long time. I hope to get back to it soon, Lord willing.~
    (And I would say that you have a nice balance of things shared in different places, already– so, keep up the good work.) :)

  • Izabela - I love IG. I love taking pictures with my phone. I am a highly visual person, so pretty pictures all the way!! I also have a blog, and although I don’t post on my blog enough, or even know which direction I want to take it, I like having it, and I like that right now it feels like blogging is going away, but I think the real, authentic blogs, like yours, will remain to stand the test of time.

  • maverickmom4 - I really enjoy reading your blog.But then again, I love to read. Not everybody does though. So for them, maybe following you on instagram does for them what the blog does for me. I also follow you on ig because I love photography!

  • Amber - Hmmm, I totaly get what you are saying. I feel like most instagramers just show beautiful photos of the the good in theirs lives, and not a whole lot of the “real” not so beautiful looking but just as good parts (like sick babies, messy bedrooms, and dirty dishes). It’s hard not to get sucked into doing the same thing. I think that what makes the difference is the words you put along side of it. They tell the story behind the picture, what is really going on. I think you do a great job of that on both instagram and your blog. I think most people would be drawn to read your blog by what what you write under your instagram post. I know that that’s not why you instagram, but you offer a little glimpse into your life, and you are so good at welcoming people into see more. Even if they don’t, you are still being you, and that is what matter most.

  • Tracy - There are very few blogs that I follow — yours is one of 4. And it has inspired me to take your snapshop, gift your course to others, go to Click Away, buy camera equipment and most importantly really embrace photography as a hobby. Though I am on instagram, I never look at it, it just doesn’t provide me the inspiration/value that I choose to spend my time on. And as fabulous of a photographer as you are, I get more out of your lovely/real/raw WORDS. I love reading your posts!

  • Laree @ Ever Heard Of Euless - please please please PLEASE don’t quit the blog. I’ll admit, I’m not even on instagram. But the little I have looked at it, I agree with your assessment: it’s easier and quicker, but not nearly as personable and close. Last year I trimmed down my blog reading to only those I really love, and two of those recently have stopped blogging all together. I dont’ have time in my life right now to join up something new, and I’d hate to not catch up with your life. I know we don’t know each other at all(I only comment once or twice a month), but I have come to love your kiddos and adore your look at life. Your blog helps me remember to slow down, to focus, to live.

  • Randi - Ashley, I think you are doing great juggling both! I have to admit, I’v totally stepped away from reading blogs and I’m definitly on Instagram a lot more these days. But I love your Insta feed and it always prompts me to come take a look over here and catch up :) I totally know what you’re saying about it all though. And since you asked, I really like how you keep your Insta simple and happy and the writing and getting to know here, with more happy of course! From my perspective, you’re doing it just right. Just keep on doing what feels good to you girl :)

  • Christina - I love your blog and i’m glad you do both this and IG. I have read you for years, and feel as though you blog for the some of the same reasons I do (did…?). Life is hard and I choose to focus on the beauty in every day, even when it’s beauty in the “ugly”. My life is far from perfect, but I choose to see the perfect in each day, and you seem to do the same. I wish more people would do that. We would be a much happier society. :)

  • AngelaS - I’m reading your posts in reverse order trying to catch up. :) I guess I need to get an instagram account because I love seeing your pictures. I thought photo sharing sites were about the happy and or artistic moments of your life. I think if I had an instagram it would just be pictures without words. But that might be because I’m a bit lazy in that regard. I’ve only had one very short attempt at a blog after having kids starting 5 years ago. I just enjoy reading other peoples blogs. Especially yours.

  • Ashley - I have just gotten around to catching up on your blog because of sickness in my house. Just wanted to share with you that you have taught me so much. Seriously. God is using you in so so many ways that I’m sure it is hard for you to grasp, so please be encouraged in that. One of the biggest things you have taught me to do is to cheer others on. I loved it one time on a post when you said, “I am a fan of moms.” I love that. We all do things different and it is easy for me to jump to judgement. I have learned from you to cheer eachother on. I think you balance being vulnerable, open, authentic, while still protecting yours and your children’s stories very well, which I know is hard for you since you are much more of a private person. Keep going! You are doing great.

  • Hazel - Ashley, I don’t know you personally. But I’ve been following your blog for years now. We share the same fear of being misunderstood. And It’s hard to put yourself out there for everyone to judge. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You’re encouraging more people than you think.

  • Sneha - hi,,
    I have been reading ur blog for almost 3 years now,, and I must say u inspire me with ur originality and good heart, and yes even ur randomness ,,

    Answering your question,, I follow u on Instagram also,, but ur blog writing is the best,, it feels real ,, and has a different connect,, I look forward to read it and always will…

    P.s something about me.. I am from India and started reading ur blog when I was in NYC working as a physical therapist… U actually inspire me to be a good human being… Thanks,,

  • ellen patton - Your blog and instagram feed are some of my favorites — because you keep life real! And I love your style.

  • Krystin Robertson - Ashley,

    I am just getting caught up on reading a few of my favorite blogs, and you’re one of them! I do apologize for such a late reply to your questions, but I just had to try my best at giving you some answers. As for Instagram, I still don’t understand it. I always thought that it was supposed to be a social media tool that people could use to share photos. However, I always see people apologizing for sharing more than one photo in a given day. Why? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone should have to apologize for sharing what they want on their feed. I don’t get it, but maybe there was some kind of rule book that I just didn’t read…? Have you ever noticed that? In regards to blogging, I would say that your blog is definitely an inspiration to me. It is authentic as it can get! Plus, you capture each part of your storytelling through your photography. I can read any post with you and actually get a visual of each part that you talk about. That’s how blogging should me, or at least, to me anyways. I love the posts with a lot of photos and a lot of storytelling. After all, if you have a personal blog, then you should make it personal. I think of a blog as a digital archive or memories. I can easily look through mine and go back to a different time. I’m still new to it, so I don’t have many posts just yet, but I can still do this nonetheless. Also, I think you still manage to capture a story on Instagram, too. You just have a talent for it! Anyways, don’t feel any tension about any of this. Just go with what feels natural to you. No pressure! This blog and your Instagram are just that… YOURS!

Many of you have asked me to share more details about our homeschooling days. I’ve been hesitant to post anything because for so long I was still figuring out what was best for my kids and for me as their teacher. Homeschooling and homeschooling curriculum can be a hot button topic. I needed to figure out what worked best for us without hearing too many outside voices and opinions. This is our third year to homeschool. The initial plan was to just do it for a year because one of my kids had some things we needed to work through together.

Now, here we are in our third year and honestly, I hope we don’t stop. It has been such a great fit for our family. This is our second year to be a part of a Classical Conversation community. Basically, Classical Conversations works as a foundation that we build the rest of our curriculum on  – adding to it a few subjects. Each week we meet with our CC community. The kids are each in classes with about 8 kids and a tutor. We go on field trips and do all kinds of fun extra stuff with our community that I would be unable to do just homeschooling on my own. Classical Conversations is not for every family, but for now it is just the right fit for us.

Each week the kids do some kind of presentation in front of their class. They are given general guidelines (persuasive, narrative, informative, demonstrative, impromptu). It has been incredible to watch my kids transform in their public speaking skills. I have a couple that felt at ease the very first time and a couple that have worked through a lot of nerves and fears to confidently get in front of their peers each week.

All that to say – this week they all had to do demonstrative presentations. I often try to steer them to the same topic when possible because it helps with planning. For this week’s presentation, they are demonstrating how to make your own DIY foosball table and how to play it. I found the tutorial on the blog UCreate – it was a huge hit with all 5 of my kids.

2.15foosball-012.15foosball-022.15foosball-03The original tutorial calls for using a shoebox. My boys wanted one a bit bigger, so I got a box from Hobby Lobby. It was in the party supply area…always use the 40% coupons when you shop at Hobby Lobby! Click here to read the tutorial by UCreate.2.15foosball-042.15foosball-05

It was super simple to make and the kids have been playing it nearly non-stop. One day I will craft with washi tape and pretty paint again, but for now this was pretty fun too.

I decided I would go ahead and start tagging my Classical Conversation posts now. I’ll probably create a pinterest board too. I don’t know how parents homeschooled before the days of pinterest!

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Nina - Cool such selfmade Fußballstadium!

    Bye

    Nina

  • Ashley Smith - This is great! Thanks for sharing. My boys are going to love this and I love that we have everything we need for it. It’s freezing up here in MN and it has to be essential to run an errand!! :) This is our second year homeschooling and doing CC too and I was searching Pinterest last night for ideas for this week’s memory work and I said the same thing to my husband. I don’t know how people did it before without all of these tools!! I just purchased the Latin and English John 1 to song last night. It’s the same music for both the English and the Latin so you don’t need to learn two separate songs. It’s enjoyable to listen to as well. The songwriter’s name is escaping me so I’ll look it up and e-mail it to you. It’s only 99 cents. We were just in FL for the month (I just took finished your photo class!) and we were able to join another CC community down there during our stay. They used these songs and the kids know there Latin so much better after using them!

  • michelle hill - I love hearing about your homeschooling experience!
    I don’t know much about homeschooling, but its so intriguing and interesting hearing it from your point of view. Thank you for sharing a little piece of it with us today.

  • Jenny B. - That looks like fun! I have a few friends who are doing Classical Conversations, and it sounds really interesting. Our school is “Classical,” but doesn’t use the CC curriculum. Our boys go to school two days a week and we do school at home three days a week. It’s sort-of like a modified homeschool, but not really since I mainly facilitate homework and help with projects on our at-home days rather than introduce new lessons. It’s a great balance for us. I’m glad you are feeling good about your choices. That’s so great that it’s already been three years and you don’t want to stop! :)

  • Jenny - What a fun project!

  • Marisa - Oh, this is fantastic! My kids have always wanted a foosball table, but we have no room for a traditional one. We’ve got a 4 day weekend coming up, and this will be perfect to fill up some of those hours! Thank you for sharing. :)

  • Jennie - So fun! Just showed my boys. They oohed and ahhed over the table a minute and then one boy says, “Is it summer there?” He saw the barefeet and short sleeves in the pictures. :) Bunches of snow and cold here in Nebraska has them thinking Oklahoma must be in the Southern Hemisphere! :)

  • Becky @ U-Create - Thank you so much for the shout out to U Create…Looks like you guys had a great time making this!

  • Lacey Meyers - How fun! Ashley, I really hope you’ll continue to share more about your homeschooling because as a blog reader, fellow-homeschooler, and friend, I appreciate what you have to say. :) I admire you in all aspects of what you share on your blog and feel like you often open my eyes to ideas and perspectives that I wouldn’t otherwise have. I am so thankful for you and the example you set. :)

  • Diana - My Mom homeschooled for 10 years before the days of even the internet. I don’t know how she did it. Up to 5 grades at a time, keeping the house in order. I mean, she was a teacher before staying home with us but still. Impressive.

  • Adrienne Steinocher - We went to the library a lot!!!!

  • Ashley - LOVE that y’all do CC! I’ve been looking into it in our area… VERY intrigued and glad to know y’all love it!

  • Tiffany Gardner - Thanks for being brave enough to post a homeschooling post. This is our first year of homeschooling after 6 years in public schools. The posts that you do share with us about homeschooling have made me feel not so alone and have really encouraged me. We also belong to a CC in OKC. So thankful for that community. You are awesome!!

  • WEEKLY INSPIRATION | Organising Chaos - […] boys got a fuzzball table for Christmas but I think we will be making this one when we are on holidays, it is so […]

  • Wilson - :o Great idea! jeje

  • Dette morsomme spillet kan du lage sammen med barna! - Kreative Idéer - […] Kilde: u-createcrafts, fremhevet bilde: ashleyannphotography. […]

  • Amy Cornwell - I love this, my kids would have a blast with it. Genius!