Courage + Grace

MY COURAGE KEY

I remember the day I received my MOPS packet and saw the Courage key. Honestly, my first thought was that it was weird, really weird. The key came with two notes. The first note described the idea behind The Giving Keys – to hold onto your key, to embrace and own that word, and then give it to someone else to encourage them. It sounds beautiful, and it truly is. But when I first read the note, I honestly thought it was strange. I was pretty certain I would not be giving this key to anyone. And looking back, I wasn’t in the same place I am now. I hadn’t yet embraced this new life since our move. I hadn’t yet understood all that God had in store for me. (And really, I still don’t. But I am trusting Him more.)

The second note was this one:

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Ummm, let’s hold on for a second. I’m a stay at home mom. My day consists of making lunches/snacks, getting everyone up, getting the littles ready, making sure everyone is dressed/went to the bathroom/ate breakfast…, driving to 3 different schools, going back to 2 of the schools, making lunches, getting littles down for naps, some homework time with the older 2, making dinner, running errands, doing laundry, cleaning the house…you get the picture. There’s not much in there that requires courage or bravery. Sanity – yes. Patience – yes. Courage and Bravery – not so much, right?
However, I do, and always have, believed motherhood is changing the world. It is impactful and important. I tear up thinking about the ways I KNOW God will use my children. I know that with each word I speak, I am making an influence on them. I did not realize just how much of an impact it makes on me, as well.

After reading this “telegram,” with the courage key tucked inside, I quickly stuffed it in a little used drawer. You know, that principle – if I don’t see something, it no longer exists? My 1 year old fully lives by this principle. For example, in this picture, he is now 100% invisible.

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Heart Work

CLOUDY

This week, it has been cool and cloudy. We had finally experienced spring and were enjoying the sunshine, the warmth, and the opportunities to be outside again. But this week, it’s back to cooler, cloudy weather. We’ve had fog and rain. And honestly, it reflects where I’m at right now. Or more appropriately, it reflects my heart right now. I’m tired. I’m worn out and exhausted. And I’m going to buckle and break soon.

Honestly, things have actually been going well lately. We, currently, don’t have any extra doctor appointments for Boy Child (we are just waiting for the feedback session at the end of the month). Man Child has made some amazing strides in his attitude and heart while Boy Child has been working on his coping strategies. It’s been a calmer, quieter week. Really, there’s no reason for me to be cloudy.

MOM
Except there is. I’m a mom. And yes, that is beautiful. It is wonderful. It is a huge blessing. But it’s also exhausting and wearying. And right now I find myself in the busy season.

My husband is an auditor, and he is crazy busy January through April. I’ve been managing appointments, dinner, and bedtimes on my own. And I like to think that I’ve handled it all pretty well. But, I always start to break by the end of these busy times. I get tired. My to do list stays the same or grows with the addition of spring cleaning. And I get behind. And once I get behind the mountains of laundry and cleaning get insurmountable. And then they are too big for the kids to help. So the mountains keeps growing. And I get more worn. And more tired.

Let’s pause for a minute. I want to be clear. I am beyond thankful and appreciative to my husband and all that he does to care for and provide for our family. I know that while I find myself exhausted, he is finding himself there too, just in a different way. We have discussed these busy times, and we ebb and flow with solutions throughout this time. But no matter the solutions, these seasons just wear. They do. They wear on us both, and we find ourselves in a place, seeking rest once they are finished and normal life comes back. Thankfully, even in the “normal,” we have adapted to finding rest there. It’s that final push that shows us where we are breaking. And just how badly we need “normal” back.

So these days of cloudy cool days, with no outdoor playing. These days of being cooped up in our own homes are hard. They are just plain hard, never mind the tired season we are in, never mind the recent taste of beautiful weather. These days are just hard. The rain and cold prove isolating. The isolating makes us more worn, more weary, and more bristled.

HEART WORK

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The Journey

I had today’s post all figured out. My husband and I surprised my 2 eldest children with a Winter Weekend Road Trip! There is something about the freedom of a road trip that just speaks to my heart. My soul sang; my heart ran free with arms wide open as I drove my family up north. It was what we were designed to do, to be. FREE, full of JOY. No wonder my heart and soul longed for it so! And rejoiced when I found it – I was FREE!

But then today, I re-entered life. And my soul got bogged down. My heart grew heavy. And I realize, now, that I cannot write about the freedom in the open road. Not right now. It wouldn’t be honest. Or real. It would be planned.

Instead, I am going to share a piece of my heart. A glimpse into my journey with my sweet boy-child. This journey is difficult and beautiful all at once and I pray that it finds you, that it speaks to you, and that you find encouragement from it.

MY SWEET BOY-CHILD

Today I had an appointment for my sweet boy-child. His role in our family is: child 3, lego-lover, sister’s friend, cuddle-giver, and screamer. He is a sign of GRACE to me each and every day. His beautiful smile can make anyone’s heart melt, and it frequently does mine. He also is a special needs child. At the age of 2, he was diagnosed with Developmental Delay. (Early intervention began our assistance for Sweet Boy-Child. The growth he had in the year of EI, was amazing. Please, if you live in Illinois, please take a few minutes to write to your state representative to save Early Intervention!)

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Welcome to Grace Mountain Diaries

Welcome to Grace Mountain Diaries! 

I have been wanting to start blogging for over a year now. It began as an idea to meld my real life with my Etsy shop (CrochetASmile).  But my desires changed, life got busy, and I put it off. Starting a blog came back to significance after sharing at a MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) meeting with my church. It awoke a vision, a completely different vision, for this blog. This blog would be a place where Jesus is known, where women are encouraged, and where we can be real together.

 WHO AM I 

I should begin by introducing myself. My hope for this blog is that you will find community here. That begins here, with me.

I’m Ashley. Over the last few months, I have been undergoing a change. I like to think of it as ARISING. I am being TRANSFORMED by GRACE. And it has been amazing, exhausting, and emotional. I don’t think I have ever cried more than I have these last few months. But these tears have been beautiful. They have been a shedding of old, a leaving behind my old ways, and my (although at times, begrudgingly) picking up of new. I have fallen more and more in love with Jesus in this time. And have been a recipient of His GRACE more times than I can count. These last few months have been a time where I have been free to BLOOM.

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