Mama’s Soul Markers

There are moments in life that are Markers on my soul.

December 1981, I held in my arms my first child, Melissa Anne. Allen tells me that
I was in labor for over 31 hours without any kind of help for the pain. I only remember how beautiful she is and has always been. A perfect beautiful little red head who reflected back all the adoring looks we gave her. Fiercely loyal and strong, she demands peace and will settle for nothing less. Her daddy laughingly told her once to put a 55 gallon drum in the back of his truck while he ate lunch. He was being funny but when he went back, she had done it. It never occurred to her that she could not. That remains her attitude about anything she intends to do.

March 1984, I had the shortest labor ever and I say truthfully that Holly Elizabeth has never given me any pain since the day she was born. The medical personnel forgot to come back for us so I lay in the recovery room alone with her, clutching her to my chest, amazed at this tiny and perfect little blonde baby. Faith-filled and confident of provision from the day she was born, she refuses to worry and never lets her circumstances dictate what she will do. She once travelled with a mission group across three countries without a dime in her pocket and typical Holly, she called to say she was bringing home a few friends for Thanksgiving. She brought home, fed and housed 27 people.

February 2, Allen Lynn was taken to NICU and I could only hold his tiny toes as they took blood and kept him in his special bassinet so he could breathe. Praying and believing that the LORD would heal him for two weeks before they finally placed him in my arms, a miracle and my first son. We took him home in a little white tuxedo onesie. We call him the perfect man because he controls his tongue and never wastes his words. His siblings count on what AJ says because he does what he says he will do. He expects no less of others and if he shows up at the house, things that need doing will be done. He never leaves without giving both of us a good strong bear hug, a gift from this child who does not give affection or smiles liberally or lightly.

May 22, Thomas Glynn made his premier, happy and friendly from the moment he was placed in my arms. He was named for favorite uncles on both sides of our families prophetically –he is a family man, a loving father now himself. My favorite memory with Tommy was the day he took his Daddy and I on a tour of his school. Only in Kindergarten, he knew the names of not just his teachers, but the cafeteria ladies and the people up and down the halls. He greeted them all by name with compliments and favor flowing from his lips. Every one he meets matters and family is blood.

September 17, Jackie Leon was tiny and Daddy and oldest sister had to take care of him while I recovered in the hospital from a serious infection. Named for my daddy, Leon, and his daddy’s best friend. My favorite picture of Jackie Leon is the one where he is standing in his daddy’s boots. We all made our way to South Carolina to watch him graduate from Basic Training. He serves his country and his family, following in his daddy’s footsteps. Like his daddy before him, sleep is not important if there are things to be done and it is not unusual for him to have three jobs if that is what it takes.

January 19, Sandra Denise made her debut into our family and into stardom. She was the only one born in the hospital her Dad was born in and starred in a television commercial when she was only hours old. A little girl after three boys, she was a girly girl and petted by parents and siblings alike. She is positively positive and gave me my iconic “Never Give Up” poster and attitude. Times got tough but she was my built-in personal and family cheerleader. Her naturally nurturing nature will come in handy now that she has started her own family.

September 13, Matthew Ryan was born on Friday the thirteenth. His umbilical cord had a square knot tied so tight that the doctor sent it to a lab because he could not believe this healthy bouncing baby boy could have gotten any blood through that cord. Blessed of God, Young King. He is the only boy that looks like his Mama. Matt takes the initiative to do what needs to be done and has the kind and gentle heart that befits a King.

June 8, Sarah Michelle was the only child that loved Mama more than Daddy. She was my little Princess with her Daddy’s thick curly brown hair and big beautiful eyes. She was my ego boost because she adored me for no reason at all. Quiet but not really shy, she developed her own personality and strong individuality in spite of being eighth of ten. Drop her into a crowd and she becomes the center, making everyone think she has been their friend for a long time even if she just met them. Sarah is my sidekick; she loves to work outdoors beside me and also loves to sit and read for hours at my beloved public library.

March 2001. Jonathan Hunter. It was hard to understand how people could think that losing this son would not matter since I had so many other children. We have no physical mementos at all to remember him except the note to my employer from my doctor saying I had lost him and a sympathy card from one close friend. My last son was the first child to go to our LORD but I look with hope to the day I will at last meet him in Heaven.

January 8, Zelma Grace. Named for Allen’s mother and for the comforting joy that she brought so soon after our loss. She has a different mother than all her siblings because the loss of Jonathan changed me completely. Zelma is proof that Grace nurtures us into our full potential and my only sadness is knowing that my other children were not reared in the same freedom that has caused her to flourish. She is creative, invincible and boldly expectant of favor as we all should be.

My children. Markers on my Soul. I cannot love you less. I cannot love you more.

You have all my love always.

Debbie Macomber Novels

Recently I finished reading Debbie Macomber’s novel, A Turn in the Road.

Bethanne Hamlin, her ex-mother-in-law, Ruth, and her daughter, Annie go on a road trip together.. and end up learning more about each other, a certain burly biker and themselves– than they ever expected.

A great book that introduced me to Macomber’s genius. My plan is to read ALL her books by June 1, 2014!


Debbi Macomber Website

Humidifier- Crockpot

Tony Road Pecan Harvest

Tony Road Pecan Harvest

The cold weather sneaks up on me at the end of each October, showing up at my door and then running away, like the neighborhood children.

When it does stop by our house for an extended period, I like to put out my crockpots to keep the air warm AND moist. The moisture seems to make the heat stay in the room longer and it definitely keeps our noses from being dried out.

The crockpots are filled and left on low with the lid off. The warm setting keeps me from having to worry that they will slosh and burn a passer-by or empty too fast. Add a little lemon zest or cinnamon, depending on whether you want to wake up or sleep in.

Happy Harvest: Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. KJV

Quick Update: TAG 2012 October

Just a quick update on Julie’s Journey. It has been a busy time in my life. My productivity has improved at work. I must give all the glory to our LORD. Praying helped me through that tumultuous first 90 days. Praying for myself, my family and my co-workers.

If you missed it on Facebook, go see photos from T.A.G 2012 October. TAG, which stands for The Ashley Gathering, does not happen as frequently as this mama/grandmama would like but when it does, it is such a blessing to me.

Allen and I set out some goals for our family many years ago. We wanted our children to love and help each other. We wanted them to be responsible people- not just reactive but proactive. We especially want them to follow after the LORD.

Most gatherings happen because of marriages or funerals, or holidays. TAG 2012 October happened because our children just wanted to get together and love each other. We really missed Jeff, Leon and Kaiden- our three missing men. But we had a great time.

Thank you, Michael & Melissa! M&M, as we like to call them, hosted the event and we know it is NO SMALL THING to have THAT MANY PEOPLE show up at your house, eat and leave… and they had to work in the morning, too! We really appreciate you both.

This entry was posted on October 23, 2012, in Journal, Share.

Thinking Lessons: Go, dogs. Go! The light is green now.

There is a story I re-tell from Leslie Householder about life being like a journey. Leslie encourages you to keep walking in faith when it may seem like you are not making progress.

If you get in your car to go on a trip, she says, you would not turn around and go home because you came to a traffic light that was red. You'd wait until the light changed and keep going. Nor would you sit home waiting until all the traffic lights were green to start the trip.

So why would you want to quit on your goals when you have to pause or stop for whatever reason.

Proverbs 16:33 says "The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly from the LORD."

The LORD has a plan and his WORD never returns void.

As I meditated this scripture at work, I thought about my dreams and goals for this website, my books, my businesses and my family. It helped me to think about Leslie's illustration. There have been a few stop signs and red lights. Still, I will continue my journey toward my goals knowing that, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philipians 1:6

Let me tell you another true story. I discovered I had a flat tire when I was about to leave to go to work. My son, instructed by my husband and uncle, fixed the tire and replaced it on the car. I did not have much time to get to work and I prayed and thanked the LORD for his help. I was very grateful for the men in my life who helped me get started on the journey that day.

There are a lot of traffic lights on the sixteen mile path between home and work. This day, driving my little standard Cavalier (also a blessing from our uncle), there was NOT ONE RED LIGHT. The LORD let me know clearly that He is able to make ALL the TRAFFIC LIGHTS GREEN!

So trust Him. He knows what you and I need every day. He has a plan for your life and mine.

It is not a small thing to make that journey and KNOW that the LORD watches over you. It is not a small thing to feel His LOVE so strongly about every little thing in your life.

BE ENCOURAGED TODAY. You matter and the LORD has sent me to PRAY for YOU.


Write It Down

[Oh, I know, I have been rash to talk out plainly this way to God!] I will [in my thinking] stand upon my post of observation and station myself on the tower or fortress, and will watch to see what He will say within me and what answer I will make [as His mouthpiece] to the perplexities of my complaint against Him.

2 And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by

We sat down and talked it over this morning, the remnant of Ashleys that live at 130 Tony Road. We spoke about our vision for the future and discussed our plans.

Our plan is to move to West Monroe. We will buy a trailor (rent to own) in the park where Melissa and Michael [M&M] live now. While we sort our belongings, we will de-clutter our lives, getting rid of things we no longer want or need. We have never attached sentimental value to THINGS. Always we reserve our affection for PERSONS.

We will move in, live and pay for our home there, and work on the property here. After we get the Sterlington home restored, we will move back and use the West Monroe house to benefit our large extended family- a place to stay, a place to visit, a place to start or finish.

It is a good plan and we commit it to the LORD.

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

We trust the LORD to bring to pass what He has begun:

The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him].


Landscape Timber Structures: Corrals

Fenced In Fig Tree

She Ain't Goin' NOWHERE now!

It looks like I am trying to keep that fig tree from escaping. This creative structure is actually my way to corral the Laying Ladies as they work on the ground, weeding and tilling around my beautiful Fig Tree.

In keeping with my “NO EXCUSES” policy of maintaining my home and property- as well as dealing with what life hands me- I use these timbers in a non-destructive way- meaning I don’t nail them together but stack them carefully.

The Ladies can and sometimes do escape this sturdy corral. In general, they stay where I put them as long as the corral is at least 5 timbers high. Lower than that, they seem to think of it as a roost and hop on and then over it. At five high, they stay in place and work where I put them.

duck and chicken under fig tree

IchaBIRD Crane- the headless birds

In this next image, they seem to have lost their heads. In reality, they are just intent on their chores: removing pests and tilling up the compost around this fruit tree.

We go out walking…

Julie Ashley

Julie Ashley

The Ashley family van has been parked due to financial constraints so how do the Ashley family members get around?
Our feet, our family, and our friends.

We have been walking mostly. It is (almost) 2.9 miles to the library, one way. We can do that in a little under an hour, one way. Biking can get us there in a third of the time but us [ahem] “older” folk- meaning ME- have issues with balance and bicycles.

When we need help, our family members haul us around- to buy groceries or to appointments. Our “get back on our feet” goal is to get that van back on the road soon but in the meantime, we are thankful that we are healthy enough to make the trek when we want to do so.

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Working Women, Part Two

Chickens Weeding Olive Tree

Chickens Weeding Olive Tree

The Laying Ladies have been doing more than laying this week. After finishing up the weeding around the peach tree, my helpful hens started around the olive tree. These girls never slack off. Wet or Dry, they are out there scratching out a living. My youngest daughter stands by with her shepherd’s staff to gently prod any ladies that try to move off in the wrong direction but these ladies are too intent on the job at hand, duh, at foot(?) to be bothered with running away. They are such a blessing to me.

Gifts from the Laying Ladies

Laying Ladies Gift Card

Laying Ladies Gift Card

God says He gives seed to the sower and He multilplies that seed. It is with great thanksgiving to God that I share that the Laying Ladies are providing me with gifts to give. The ladies count:

  • October 31: 6
  • November 2: 6
  • November 6: 7
  • November 8: 6

One of the ladies has been giving an Extra Large egg. My large egg carton space barely holds it in place. The new layers give smaller eggs (two shown) to start. We feed the ladies scraps from the kitchen with 2 cups of layer feed that we buy at S&J in West Monroe.

Organic Eggs from Happy Hens

Organic Eggs from Happy Hens

The little card is my own and uses a simple drawing I created for the Family Almanac I am designing. The verse is Second Corinthians 9:8.

And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.

2 Corinthians 9:8

2 Corinthians 9:8