I’ve been on a purging rampage around here. It is what I do when life feels a little crazy. I start clearing out excess and organizing what is left. It is incredible how much clutter and stuff we acquire. Anyway, I’ve been staying far from my favorite places…flea markets, antique stores, garage sales. Several weeks ago I got a text from my friend Paige that she was at Vintage Market Days. She had a booth set up for her Sorta Southern Boutique and in the booth next to her was a metal mailbox with my last name. She said she kept thinking of me when she saw it. She sent me a text with a picture and asked if I wanted her to get it for me.

I almost said “no”…because I am trying to empty my house of stuff, not fill it with more.But the initials in front of the “Campbell” were my father-in-law’s initials “C.L.”

C.L. Campbell – my father-in-law’s name. I kinda felt like it needed to find a new home at my home, so I had her get it for me.Yankee Dime Mercantile, the vendor that sold it to Paige was from another town. My husband said his dad lived there as a child. You don’t put your kid’s initials on your mailbox, so I didn’t think much of it. I sent my father-in-law a text with a picture just to show him. He wrote me back almost instantly. Turns out it was his cub scouts project from childhood!

Several decades after his cub scouts days, his mailbox made it to his daughter-in-laws house….all because of a friend who was thoughtful enough to send a text.

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  • jenn - what an amazing story!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - No way!!! That is so cool! Love stories like this- thanks for sharing!

  • Andy - so cool. I love how that happened. so very cool

  • Kassondra - Too coool!

  • Amanda - How crazy is that?! I love when treasures have neat stories to explain how they came to be. =)

  • sarah - goosebumps all over….such a sweet story!!

  • Jacci - Why did that make me cry? ;)

    That’s the best.

  • Natalie, the Chickenblogger - What!? That is a seriously delightful story.
    I love CraZyRandomHaPpenStance!
    Also… great metal shop skills… did he
    keep that up?

  • Pamela - What a cool story – it came “home”

  • Lisa M. - That is such an awsome story! What are the odds??

  • chrissy - Wow! What an incredible story! Thank you for the dose of hope this morning. XO

  • Kari - Goosebumps…all over! What an awesome story!

  • Stephanie W. - That is so cool! What a great friend to think of you! Happy to hear it’s “home”.

  • Chrissy - What a great story! It was all just meant to be :)

  • Cheryl - It was meant to be!

  • sarah - coolest story I’ve heard in a LONG time!!!

  • Lynn - Wow!! What a great find by your friend!!

  • Sarah - Whoa!

  • Jerusalem - ohhh I love that! What a great treasure. We have a bookcase my fil built in wood shop. So fun to have those sorts of heirlooms.

  • Emily - What are the chances of it finding it’s way to you? So neat!

  • Linda - What a treasure!!!

  • Shannon - That’s so neat! I love stories like this.

  • Sarah - That is totally cool! Wow!

  • angie webb - Amazing story!

  • Sarah c - Gave me chills, what a surprise! Love hearing what you have to share and seeing your beautiful photos to accompany!

  • jennifer - what a wonderful story! i so enjoy dreaming about journey that vintage/antique goods travel to make their way into our lives + in this case, you know (and are closely connected to) the very genesis of the piece. sweet serendipity! enjoy :) xoxo

  • amanda - Love it!

  • Debbie - Serendipity!

  • Heather - What an amazing story and now you have a family heirloom….

  • Monica - I love little One! she looks that she knows how to read. So cute!

  • molly - what a cool story! and i am totally with you on the cleaning and organizing when life gets crazy! i do it too. i am a teacher and life tends to get a little crazy here in the fall…so right now i am in the pre-crazy try to prevent the crazy cleaning and organizing mode. makes me feel better to get my house in order. :)

  • Brandi - Awesome!! Love me a good story with a good ending!

    I also cried. Made my heart smile.

  • Rebekah - How incredible!

  • Amy Cornwell - That is so fabulous…how amazing that it has come full circle. Wow!

  • Angie @ http://hayshousemisadventures.blogspot.com/ - Wow! What an awesome example of life coming full circle!

  • lauren - so cool! love it when things like this happen! :) *

  • keight dukes - SHUT IT!!!!! that’s beyond dopeness. i keep waiting to find something of my own at goodwill. but more than likely it will be embarrassing (a flip flop “sculpture” i made in ceramics class or my “1000 marvelous sound effects” CD compilation) rather than touching.

  • Kelly J. R. - This story just gave me goosebumps! How cool of God to deliver this back to your family.

  • Christina Larsen - That is a really cool story! Love it!

  • stephany - wow. great story.

  • aearthr - i felt so touched. how something go round and round in life. it goes to the right the owner.

  • Lauren - Goosebumps. Serious goosebumps.

  • Carol - This story made me exclaim out loud and gave me goosebumps. This mailbox’s life would make a great children’s book (from the mailbox’s perspective, perhaps?). Your father-in-law must have been absolutely thrilled, as were you all I’m sure.

  • Lisa - Great story – thanks for sharing! This made me smile.

  • Kirsten J - That is seriously the coolest thing ever!

  • Chantel - Wow, how crazy! I absolutely love the story!

  • Ashley - I meet your father-in-law at Panera a few months ago. He came over to compliment my children and we started talking…family, grandkids. It wasn’t long before I made the connection to you. He’s a lovely man and he is very proud of you.

    All the best,

  • Amy - What an amazing story! I love it!

  • Emily - I want to be that kind of friend. Thank you for sharing :-)

  • Crystal - Love this story!!

  • Lyn - Best blog post read today.

  • Jamie - That is so neat!!

  • Hannah - That is the craziest story I’ve ever heard! So awesome!

  • The Domestic Fringe - That’s crazy awesome! What a great story. So glad you have it.

  • Sarah - I started reading this post thinking that’s the coolest mailbox I’ve ever seen and finished it with tears in my eyes. What a beautiful story. Not that you’d forget, but you might consider taping a copy of this post directly to the bottom of the mailbox. My grandma attached notes to things and they were wonderful to find decades later.

  • Lisa Wadsworth - I love this! Fantastic story… what are the chances?! Amazing!

  • Christy - That is amazing! What a gift to have found such a treasure!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh how sweet! What an amazing full circle moment! Love this.

  • Karen - That is so cool.

    I have a couple things my husband made when he was a boy in shop class. I love stuff like that. Sentimental value is the tops for me.

  • erin - what a great story!! glad it made it’s way back to your family!

  • Heather - Awesome story!!!

  • shelly capehart - What a sweet story!! Yankee dime is in our town and the sweetest lady owns it! I just love your blog. You are great!!

  • Cassie - Wow, amazing story! I got teared up reading it for some reason too Jacci. :)

  • carolina - what a great story and what a small world!!!

  • shauna reed - wow! now that is great!

  • KJ@letsgoflyakite - This is such AMAZING story on so many levels, I am so glad the mailbox found your family.

  • tracy a - Providence! How awesome is this!! I just love that some people (whoever saved that awesome project) cherish old things enough and that it actually made it back in to the hands it belonged. What a light and fun story!

  • Holly - Awesome! I love it!

  • Karen Baruth - What an awesome story! You should write it out in a little letter and store it in the mailbox for future generations!

  • Kimberly Dial - Such a neat story!

  • Kimberlee Jost - GET OUT.
    That’s insane.

  • Christina C - WOW! This story gave me goosebumps! Thank you for sharing!

  • Lori - Yep! I knew I liked that story. In fact, I like most stories. They are what make the world go ’round. ;0)

  • lexie - Ohmigosh-WOW! Such an amazing story.

  • Jackie - I love this story! This is so amazing – what a small world!

  • Amy L - Oh. My. Goodness!!!! What a neat story.

  • Christy - That gave me chills. So cool!

  • Jill - I LOVE stories like this! Of course that was meant to be yours!

  • Carrie - It was meant to be and proves what a very small world we live it; your friend is a keeper for sure!

  • Ashley - What an amazing story and a small world!

  • Kristin @ Little Corbin Hill - That’s an awesome find! Love when you find treasures close to your heart in more ways than one =)

  • megan - if that’s not just the coolest story ever!!!!
    (and an adorable mailbox to boot!)

  • jeannett gibson - Okay, so I recently found a book of prayers from 1879 in a random antique shop. I don’t know for SURE…but the more I talk to family and piece things together, the more it appears that its actually from someone in my family!!! From Portugal no less. Crazy, right?

    Here’s my post I did on it. http://liferearranged.com/2013/07/zephyr-zen/

Little One is healing up amazingly well. Crazy well. As in…it looks like she’s always had a closed palate (closed roof in her mouth). It is incredible the difference. The way her surgeon closed the cleft in her lip blew my mind. The palate – even more incredible. I’ve gotten a lot of questions asking about what exactly happened for the palate repair. I’m not going to post pictures, but I will try to explain it through a rough sketch and words.

Her palate was open from the gumline to the back of her throat. So, if you looked into her mouth the ‘roof’ of her mouth was open up into her nasal cavity. As you can imagine that makes for all kinds of difficulties with speech, eating, drinking, sucking, etc. To close her palate the doctor went along the inside of her gum line and cut the palate off both sides. He then brought the two sides together and stitched it down the middle. The cleft also split her uvula in half, so her uvula was stitched together too. The area between the gumline and the combined palate (where he cut) was left open. Within two weeks new flesh grew to fill in those gaps. Crazy! The way God made our bodies to heal is so incredible. So two weeks ago, she had all kinds of stitches and gaps of open flesh in her mouth…and a stitched together uvula. If you looked in her mouth today, you would have no idea of any of that.

Imagine you are looking at the roof of Little One’s mouth in these…use your imagination here!

Crazy, huh?!

She still isn’t sleeping much, but in every other way seems pretty much healed. Such a little warrior. She’s been teasing us a little like she is going to drink out of a sippy cup instead of her bottle. I’ll take the teasing because a little bit has actually made it in her mouth. And she is just really cute when she does it.

FireCracker is just a little affectionate with her cousin. Just a little.

My other niece is…..awesome.

When she’s not teasing us with sippy cups, she likes to wear her brothers’ shirts like this. She reminds me of an Ewok and a Teletubbie, but much cuter of course. If you pull the shirt down she gets mad. She wants it just like this…

And there is your random surgery, cousin mauling and Ewok post to get your week going! Our internet has been down for a week and SnapShop registration opens in 10 minutes. I am a nervous wreck in the back booth at Panera! I hope you have a great Monday!!

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  • terrie G - God is crazy awesome the way he designed our bodies!!
    And how he designed our world!
    Headed to Glacier Nat’l Park in a little while for the first time!
    Sure I will be in ah & wonder land!
    And…don’t be nervous.
    Just start planning your second phone SnapShop course…this one will fill up I’m sure!
    Praying all things technical go well for you this morning!

  • Alli - So happy to hear that Little One is healing! She is beautiful!

    I was actually wondering if you get nervous when your classes open up – mainly because I was nervous on that other side – nervous that I wouldn’t get a spot – haha! I was sitting at my computer hitting refresh and it brought me back to the day when I was waiting for my bar exam results. When I was anxiously awaiting my results, I hit refresh at the exact moment when the links loaded and they were actually linking to the last test results. My name wasn’t there, and I thought I didn’t pass. I dealt with that emotion for about 15 minutes, when I went to check again, and saw that I had passed – shew! I had never been so excited in my life. So here I was this morning, hitting refresh and an error kept comping up – ahhh! Luckily, after about 4 minutes, I got in! So excited about your course! Thank you for offering it.

  • Jacci - That is amazing. Our God us amazing. Little One is amazing! <3 Wow.

    I'll bet that class is full before lunchtime ;) Don't you fret.

  • Emma - Little One’s hair in those pigtails is seriously the cutest thing! I’m glad that she is healing well.

  • Kelly Clarke - What a miracle… so happy to hear she is doing so well. Good luck today with your SnapShop registrations!

  • Debbie C - So amazing! Yes, God made our bodies with incredible wisdom. So happy that LO is doing well, she looks so cute as an Ewok too. :)

  • Corrina - It amazes me everyday how kids bounce back from things that we as adults would take SO much longer to heal from! My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Little One makes me smile every time I see a picture of her. Actually ALL of your photos make me smile! Keep healing Little One!

  • Martina - Thanks for the illustrations. I had done some online searching out of curiosity but this makes it much clearer. God is so good: the way He heals us, the way He puts families together, the way He gives us strength to overcome obstacles. I love reading updates on Little One.

  • Amber - So happy Little one is healing so well! Have been following your blog for years now and am so excited to take your Snapshop course for phones! I have a droid and am rather ignorant in regards to what it can do…looking forward to learning!

  • Tanya - Your daughter is amazing. I had a fairly major oral surgery last week and while I was hurting in early recovery I thought that if your 2-yr old can recover so well, so can I :-) She’s an inspiration!
    Your class is going to be great. I loved your dslr class, so I can only imagine this phone course will be just as wonderful!

  • Donna - Your pictures and posts are always a delight to read and enjoy. I have never commented before, cuz I’m a bit of a chicken, but I wanted you to know that I have often wondered about cleft surgery. Your drawings are superb and helps me understand really well! I think I prefer this to pics of the inside of her mouth. Thank you! And God bless you and your family! You are such a shining example of strength in the face of reality and the challenges that come along. I appreciate that you are honest about not having it all together at times, but at the same time, your love for your family and God shine through, and that challenges me to become more like Christ. Take care!

  • Izzy - Wow! The way God made our bodies to heal is amazing. Such cute pictures of little one with her hair done cute too! And the last picture is so funny too : )
    Have a nice week…

  • Lex - THANK YOU for the description and the drawings. I’ve been wondering. I’ve seen pictures of children with cleft lips, but never known (or “known”) someone who went through it. Always wondered how it happened.

  • Haley - Yay for such a good recovery! Little One is so adorable with her pigtails. and I like how loving Firecracker is.

  • Jami C. - EWOK.


  • Regan - Her piggies are getting so much fuller now. She has lovely raven hair like my oldrest daughter. She looks like she is absolutely blossoming!

  • CarolineR - I was nervous this a.m. too- nervous I would not get in to the phone class! So excited to be a part of it, and hope to be able to join the next dslr version too…
    Love that Little One is doing so well- little warrior indeed, always had disarming smile.

  • Maureen - That look Little One has in the 3rd photo down looks So much like Firecracker it made us laugh. Strong girls you two have there! Hmmm, wonder where they got that….<=

  • Monica - I am so Happy Little One is doing great! Yes, the kids have an amazing recovery. My nephew years ago he had an open heart surgery when he was only 5 and he was fine so quick. God is amazing! I would like to get into your classes but I don’t have an iphone and the phone that I have doesn’t take good pictures. I hope so next time you have the class I have a good phone :). But for sure soon I would like to get into your classes. I love the way you take pictures. Because are not poses are real life and is what I am trying to have in mines. I should not worry if my daughter Bella make silly faces each time that I want to take her pictures. LOL. Have a wonderful day!

  • Gill - Thank you for the explanation of the palate repair – I have often wondered how they did it. My son has a submucous cleft palate and thankfully has never needed any treatment but I was told when he was born that he would need surgery and since then it has been something that has interested me.
    Little One looks amazing and it is great that she is getting close to using her sippy cup! Such a gorgeous and inspiring little girl.

  • Julie - How wonderful to live in a time when this is possible! And what a little trooper to go through all that!

  • Kristin S - Seriously, amazing.

    The mouth is the germiest place in our whole body, yet things heal there so fast. Even a tiny bit or sore seems to heal quickly. God’s hand and design for sure.

  • Jamie - Oh goodness Ashley she is absolutely stunning. I mean I’ve always thought her beautiful, but as she grows and has bonded to your family her lovely little soul is shining brighter and brighter. I could just eat her up!
    PS Nice illustrations, very educational.

  • Susan - Your children are beautiful! Love your blog and Instagram.


  • Venusia - God is good, that is so inspiring to read your journey with little one. Maybe one day we will be living the same thing …

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us !

  • Kimberly Dial - I do believe you adopted the most beautiful baby girl in all of China. Thanks for the sketches. I wondered how all that went. Firecracker is a gal after my own heart — at 51 I’m still likely to “maul” a cousin I haven’t seen in a while — hugs are the best! Good luck on SnapShop (but I have a feeling you’re not going to need it!)

  • Jessica - That absolutely blows me away. Incredible.

  • Nancy - Thank you for explaining the surgery. I had a gum graft a few years ago & the doctor covered the areas where the tissue was removed & where it was grafted to with something that looked sort of like grey chewing gum but it was WONDERFUL, because it kept the area so much more comfortable. It was the most pain free work I have ever had done to my mouth. I had wondered if LO had something like that but it sounds like she didn’t. She is one amazing little trooper! Thanks

  • Krystal - Hello Ashley Ann,

    I’m writing to you from New Zealand. I started following your blog 18 months ago for the awesome DIY tutorials you have shared, but have gained so much more along the way. Thank you for sharing and inspiring! I notice you homeschool – If you ever do a country study on New Zealand let me know and I’ll send some New Zealand goodies your way!

  • Christina Larsen - ewok definitely, but much cuter! so happy she is healing nicely!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - OH – I so wish I could stop by Panera! I would get you a refill, tell you to take one more potty break and breathe!

  • Jodi - Thank you for sharing the picture of the palate procedure. My daughter goes on the 8th for her palate surgery. It was a nice visual to what to expect. Your daughter is beautiful!

There was a typo on the SnapShop website that had registration time as 9:00am US Central. I wanted to clarify that registration for the SnapShop phone photography course will begin Monday, July 22, 2013 at 8:00am US Central. Spaces are limited.

Click here to register

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  • Ruth - I’m in! Woohoo! :) I really hope I can take photos half as good as you Ashley! :)

  • Holly - I’m waiting for the new iphone to come out, and then I’ll be signed up for the next one! I loved the (original) Snap Shop!

  • jenw - Squeee! I registered! I’m ridiculously excited. I’m excited that you’ve developed a phone-based course.

  • April Smith - I can’t register this go-round due to not having it built into the budget, but I have a birthday coming up, and I believe I will put this down with the funding on that line!

    Miss you all!

  • Amanda - Can’t right now because we’re in the midst of moving and the house is crazy, but would love to be a part of a phone-based course in the future! :)