August 22, 2013
My Everyday Featuring ... Ashley Ann
[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story.
I'm a very simple girl. I cherish simplicity and quietness, craving country roads over city streets. The great loves of my life are Jesus and my family. Very soon my husband and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary. We met in high school, got married in college and get to walk the amazing adventure of raising 5 kids. Everyday I am learning, growing, messing up and asking for forgiveness. I long for a heart of wisdom and to walk in the knowledge that my days are numbered. Photography has been a gift in my life by helping me to really see the marvelous the seemingly mundane moments of my day. Through photography I began writing a blog which opened up all kinds of unexpected doors in my life. While my story includes photography, blogging, and crafting - at the heart of it I am just a plain ole' girl that is really soaking up and enjoying this adventure of life with my family. I want to be brave in a world that can sometimes feel hard & scary - I want to be brave to show my kids the immeasurable joy of trusting God with their leaps.
[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
This is such a hard question for me! There isn't a specific time of each day that I would call my favorite. The times during the day when there is an overwhelming peacefulness in our home - those are my favorite times. Sometimes that peacefulness is when all the kids are loud, crazy and happily playing together. Other times it is when they are all doing their own thing and I am getting dinner ready. I've learned that peacefulness in my house is not the absence of noise, but the absence of strife. With five kids - including 3 boys who think they are the Avengers - we sure have our fair share of strife. So those moments when everything feels just as it should be - that is my favorite time. I breathe it in deeply and it is like honey to this mom's soul.
[#3] Name Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
Goodness these are hard questions for me! Every mom I follow on IG inspires me in one way or another - and most of them you've featured here. There are so many moms I've met through IG and my life is richer because of their willingness to be vulnerable and brave. It would be impossible to list 3! So, I am going to list three that I only know online but specifically they inspire me with their incredible thoughtfulness and kindness as it extends beyond IG:
@katykristin / @skippee / @mrsmogun
[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
Time is the biggest challenge for me. There were seasons of life that I was able to create, decorate, craft and still maintain the schedule with my kids that I wanted. Mainly those were seasons when kids took naps! These days I am not starting many new projects, but am focusing on finishing projects. I still have a passion for creativity, but I've had to adjust how I act out that passion. Instead of working on my own creative project, I'm usually helping one of the kids with theirs. I do have to keep a watchful guard over my attitude. There are parts of me that would much rather be dip dying doilies than building miniature steamboats. However, there is a bigger part of me that wants to encourage and support creativity in my kids. I figure there will be a time for creating alone again one day. This is a season that will pass and instead of focusing on what it isn't (cute pinterest crafting), I have to daily choose to see all that this season is and relish the joys of it. And, goodness, there is a lot to savor about being creative side by side with my children.
[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
We've got a lot of family traditions and I love every one. I cherish celebrating with traditions. I love how the repetition of something each year (or month) reminds me of how time passes. One tradition that my grandparents have worked to keep going is celebrating birthdays at their favorite doughnut shop. Sometime around everyone's birthday my extended family meets up to celebrate and my grandpa treats us all to doughnuts. I love that my kids get to have a close relationship with their great grandparents and it is a tradition I hope they will always remember.
[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
When I am sitting on my couch, this is the view I see. I started the photo wall several years ago (before instagram) and had to cut 4x6 prints down to 4x4. The bottom row starts with my very first ultrasound of my oldest and I add about two rows a year. I can see this wall from the kitchen and the living room. Most of our days happen in this area or outside, so I see it all day long. It is such a powerful reminder to me of how when you add up all the little everyday moments of my family you get this beautiful canvas that is our story. I love being able to quickly look up and remember moments from when the kids were younger. It might be the only thing in my house that I never get the itch to change.
[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
My niece gave my oldest daughter a Just Dance game for our wii. I'm pretty sure the boys like it better than the girls. I actually really love this shot, but didn't post it on IG because it is so dark and grainy.
Be sure and follow @underthesycamore on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms