Confession booth

I went to Kohls.
and I spent waaaayy too much money there.

That’s my confession.

I’m not a Kohls kind of gal.

But lately life has me doing things I never really planned or fully thought through.. like raising chicks that now look like awkward bird teenagers, moving out of the city to an oversized lot that has a bit too much yard work, starting a new business venture (click here for my latest, lovely passion project!), and shopping at Kohls. All this in the middle of navigating brain surgery aftermath and doctors appointments with zion, commuting in and out of the city so the boys can finish up their school year, and attempting to make a foreclosure, fixer-upper house into a home.

I went to Kohls because Micah, the baby I first carried in my womb and held in my arms and watched while he slept to make sure he was breathing and nursed at 3am while watching 24, is taking a girl to the middle school dance tomorrow. I went to Kohls because he got up the nerve to ask her and she said yes. I went to Kohls because (he will kill me for this, but forgive me later when he’s grown up and “gets it”) they texted back and forth for the first time this week and this is how it went:

He realized after showing her his “outfit” that he actually didn’t own the outfit he was talking about. He didn’t actually own anything nice because our boys run around in raggedy old gym shorts and t-shirts most of the time. I’ve made my peace with it, and it’s easy to when we aren’t on social media and there’s nothing to prove and no one to impress in that department.

So I took him to Kohls because we live out in the ‘burbs now and that is, apparently where one goes for the emoji outfit of a middle school boy’s dreams. And I walked the aisles and shook my head that this is my life. But not because of the Kohls thing, but because of Micah. I noticed quickly that my baby isn’t a baby anymore. But he also isn’t a man. We went from one male clothing area to another, realizing he’s too small for the man’s S size but too old for the little boy large. It was a strange thing, seeing him so in between. And just as I thought he was getting too old and too cool for me, he grabbed my hand to hold it as we walked around the store.

The joy and pride on his face when we found the right shirt, the right black Levi’s, a “real belt”, and the right shoes was priceless. So I bought it all and spent way too much money on a sixth grader. And I loved every minute of it.

these charms may be wasted..

I found this while leafing through vintage magazine ads and I could hardly believe it! I struck gold.. sheer female marketing genius gold.

I thought it was perfect timing because a handful of you lately have asked me about essential oils some of you finding me in a public place to compliment how I smell.. in a good way. These charms ain’t being wasted, y’all.

First, for those of you asking why I smell great, I’ll share my dirty little secret: essential oils and No deodorant. I quit the stuff about a year ago now and have been using a young living essential oil blend called “purification”. It came in my starter kit and after learning just the right amount needed in order to care for my skin and also not smell like a trucker, I am officially hooked. the blend has some unique plant blends but I think it’s the lemongrass that comes off the most.. so I smell a little bit like a day spa. I also use essential oils as my perfume, which I will get into in another post.

That brings me to the next question, which is how you can get started with essential oils yourself. There are many different brands of essential oils but only two widely reputable brands (both multi level marketing companies, so you have to order from someone who is already a part of the family or become a part of the family yourself. in my experience, if you can’t beat ‘em…) and only one of those brands makes essential oils that I trust enough to put on my kids or ingest into my body. That company is Young Living.

Although these oils are derived from plants, fruit, roots, and seeds, they are extremely potent and can be powerful. Because of this, I not only steer people away from oils sold in stores and send them free samples instead, I also make sure to give a handful of helpful resources when you join me on the oils journey, as well as giving you access to some groups of people who are more experienced than I am and can always be available to answer a question if I don’t have the answer for you myself.

So how to get started? The best place to start is with the Premium Starter Kit. This will give you a grip load of oils to begin learning about and trying in your daily life, and enough supply to actually use them consistently and hopefully start to experience some real results. It also comes with a diffuser so you can enjoy the aromatherapeutic benefits of the oils and your friends can all be jealous that your house smells good and your kids are behaving so calmly. As an added bonus your nice hair, nice eyes, and nice teeth won’t be wasted..;)

The premium starter kit comes with:

Diffuser and the following essential oils:
Lavender
Peppermint Vitality
Lemon Vitality
Copaiba Vitality
Frankincense
Thieves Vitality
Purification
R.C.
Digize
Panaway
Stress Away
and a bunch of free samples and swag.

I plan on elaborating more on what each of these oils do in the future, but for now, I invite you –
JOIN ME and be a part of my essential oils team. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to make empowering choices for your own and your family’s well being, and I would love to see these oils benefit your family in the ways they’ve done for us.

Click here to order your starter kit today and sign up as a distributor, purchasing your premium starter kit at the wholesale price (so worth it), and join the family. My number will automatically show up so young living keeps us in the same tribe.

As always, write me and let me know if you have any questions or how I could be of some help!

xo,
ash

*statements not evaluated by FDA and not intended to treat, cure, or mitigate disease.

on my 35th birthday ..

today was my birthday. well, was or is, there’s still a little time left.
I stumbled on this Carson Ellis illustration and said to myself, “yes. that about sums it up for me.”

In perfect form, this day held an abundance of the bittersweet jumbled up bag of things that make my life rich and full.

I felt beautiful, but I have my period.

I wept and mourned and found myself surprised by joy and hope, leading to wild laughter a good portion of the day.

I looked stylish, but the only shopping I did was at the plant store, the farm store for chicken feed, and the local hardware store.

In lieu of no more social media, I didn’t hear from the usual masses of strangers, but it must have still told some people it was my birthday because there were some very dear friends and acquaintances who happened to have my number and they sent me personal texts and lovely messages.

I celebrated in luxury by drinking two glasses of sangria before five o’clock, but spent the rest of my evening at the 4th – 8th grade “Variety Show” watching kids tap dance, nay nay, sing adele and play piano.. clearly, the sixth grader who played the “Star Wars” theme took the cake.. ahem. he’s mine.

I had moments of forgetting that one of my kids is chronically ill, immediately followed by crippling moments of remembering that, even tonight, we could end up in the hospital again.. not to self: must stop googling about seizures.

I did no real work and yet came up with a brand new creative hair-brained venture, purchasing a .com and everything.. all on a whim. some people buy too many shoes. I buy too many .com’s in hopes of new creative expressions and outlets. it might be a problem?

I planned on starting the day with a fresh green juice and ending it with wine. Instead, I started the day with french toast and end it now with a pie homemade by a dear love.. chocolate cream with a salty pretzel crust.

I am thirty-five years old tonight. When I go to sleep, I will be completely done with the first thirty four years of my life. No more second chances for those years. And I’m glad. I don’t want to be seventeen or twenty seven again. Thirty five is a brave new territory. I’m halfway to seventy and twice the age of a high school senior. I’m a parent of one middle schooler, almost two!

As a good, wise, old thirty five year old, I am reflecting. I look back on the past year, I look forward to this one and I see a jumbled mix of darkness and beauty. I’m the woman riding the eagle. The landscape below is formidable and unknown, but also pink and lovely and filled with images of family and nourishment and life and home.

My demons are still chasing me down, some days more than ever. My fears of loss, pain, and death hover around street corners and hide in our dirty laundry piles. And yet, here I am.. eating pie, listening to a Gregory Alan Isakov song that happened to come on my pandora station.. and I think, “oh yeah.. I got to go on part of his tour the past couple years in a row and make photographs of it..” what? what is my life? My husband is next to me on the couch in our 129 year old living room sketching out changes he will make to the chicken coop he’s building with his own two loving hands. I love him deeply and he keeps choosing me. Our kids lay upstairs breathing deep and rhythmic and slow, and today I made all of them laugh and heard them all say the words, “I love you, mom.” I can hear the chicks pecking in their little pail in the dining room. The email inbox is full, but they are all good emails, the kind with opportunities and thank you’s tied to the ends.

I am the girl riding the eagle. The days will be good and they will be bad, and because it’s me, most days will have an almost crippling abundance of both. But I’m riding a fricken eagle, people .. and eating pie. I now know what it feels like to see my middle school son sit at a piano and perform the song that he practiced – until he made me lose my mind for a full auditorium – and shine. I now know high school and the people I knew back then don’t know me anymore.. but the people who know me have my number and leave me voicemails making up original birthday songs and text with way too many gifs. I feel loved and beloved by my family, my friends, and by Jesus. Oh yeah.. Jesus is the eagle. So for now, I smile a comforted smile and hold on tight to the feathers.

where are we going this year, Eagle?

*disclosure: SFD
that means this piece was, to use the phrase taught to me and many by anne lammot, a “shitty first draft”. unedited, not spell checked or anything. forgive all embarrassing grammatical errors or overzealous comma usage.
xo